Pastor sentenced to six months in prison
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A PASTOR from the Church of God Ministries (Total Deliverance) was sentenced to six months in prison after he obtained a death certificate of his late father who was the founder and overseer of the church without the knowledge of his stepmother.
The pastor, Samuel Abednico Marapani, appeared before magistrate Marylyn Muchina at the Tredgold magistrates courts on accusations that he unlawfully obtained a death certificate for his father, Christopher Peter Ngwenya, without the knowledge of his stepmother, Sithembile Magadelene Mkhwananzi, in order to process his father's estate.
Marapani disputed the charges as he said he was unaware that his father had lawfully married Mkhwananzi in the United States of America where they were staying.
He accused Mkhwananzi of wanting to attain a new Death Certificate in order to cash in on his late father's IRS cheque which a bank in America requires to process the cheque.
Mkhwananzi said she needed the Death Certificate to renew her expired passport.
However, Marapani, who was charged with Fraud as defined in Section 136 of the Criminal Law, Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23, was found guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Three months were suspended on condition of good behaviour. The remaining three months were suspended on condition that he pays a fine of US$200.
The death certificate was forfeited to the state for destruction.
According to the state prosecutor, Admire Chikwayi, on 7 May 2012 Marapani went to the â€œRegistrar of Births and Deaths offices at Tredgold Building in Bulawayo and misrepresented to the Registrar of Births and Deaths that his late father Christopher Peter Ngwenya was a widower yet he knew that he had Mkhwananzi as his lawfully wedded wife.
"By means of misrepresentation the Registrar of Birth and Death issued a Death Certificate stating that Christopher was a widower to the prejudice of Mkhwananzi. She discovered the offence when she visited the registrarâ€™s office intending to obtain a death certificate for her late husband so that she could renew her expired passport. She also discovered that the accused person had taken the death certificate to Webb Low and Barry Legal Practitioners to process her husbandâ€™s estate without her knowledge."
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