A warrant of arrest has been issued for Spirit Embassy Church leader Prophet Uebert Angel Mudzanire after he failed to appear in court to answer to fraud charges involving a luxury vehicle worth US$300 000.
The police Vehicle Theft Unit is looking for the flamboyant preacher who is understood to be shuttling between the United Kingdom and the United States. He left Zimbabwe in May 2014.
Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe issued the warrant on Christmas Eve when he did not appear in court to respond to allegations of lying to businessman Mr Ndabazinengi Shava that he would “harvest” several vehicles and money if he “seeded” his Bentley Continental to the preacher.
Efforts to get a comment from Prophet Angel over the last fortnight were unsuccessful while church officials in Harare were tight-lipped.
The warrant reads, in part: “Whereas from the information taken upon oath, there are reasonable grounds of suspicion against Ubert Angel Mudzanire, founder of Spirit Embassy Church with no further particulars known, committed a crime of fraud as defined in Section 136 Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 which occurred sometime in June 2013.
“It is alleged that he intentionally misrepresented to Shava Ndabazinengi. . .being the director of Faith-Edge Holdings (in Harare) that if he cedes his motor vehicle, a Bentley Continental, black in colour on registration number ACO 1759, engine number CKHOO2121, chasis number SCBDH23WOBC68373, complainant would in eight months receive several vehicles, assets and money as blessings and if nothing materialises the accused person would return the same motor vehicle to the complainant when in actual fact all this was not true and instead the accused person sold the car without the complainant thereby converting the proceeds to his own use.
“These are (police) therefore in the State’s name to command you that immediately upon sight apprehend and bring the said person or cause him to be apprehended and brought before the court of a magistrate to be examined and to answer to the said information and to be further dealt with according to law.”
After spending 12 years overseas, Prophet Angel returned to Zimbabwe in March 2011, and his congregation grew rapidly as multitudes embraced his charismatic style and “miracles”.
The church held services in the Harare International Conference Centre auditorium; subsequently in the Rainbow Towers grounds and later at Harare Exhibition Park.
He suddenly relocated to the UK last year amid speculation that he was seriously ill, a fugitive or bankrupt.
Prophet Angel is yet to comment on all these issues, though recent tweets on what is believed to be his Twitter account indicate he is preaching in the US and the UK.
The fraud allegations came to public knowledge in 2014 when Mr Shava approached the courts.
Prophet Angel’s co-accused, Anderson Tagara, a Harare-based businessman, has already appeared in court and will be back in the dock this Tuesday.
At Tagara’s initial appearance, Prophet Angel was named the “main perpetrator of the case”.