PROPHETIC Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya has written to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) seeking to avoid testifying in the ongoing inquest into the death of 11 people at his church’s crusade in Kwekwe in 2011. Prophet Magaya was summoned by Kwekwe magistrate Taurai Manwere to appear at the inquest on May 17.
PHD lawyer Everson Chatambudza, in a letter to the prosecutor, Fiona Mukwena, said Prophet Magaya had no relevant evidence to give to the court.
Chatambudza said Prophet Magaya was not in the stadium at the time when the stampede occurred.
He said there was therefore no need for the church leader to testify.
“We wish to say our client has nothing relevant to tell the court as far as the inquest is concerned. Our client had a statement recorded by the police which is self-explanatory that when the stampede occurred he was not there.”
“In fact the bulk of the evidence shows that when the stampede took place he was not present and thus did not witness anything,” reads part of Chatambudza’s letter addressed to Mukwena.
He said they were approached by the investigating officer, Chief Inspector Muchedzi on May 6 who had the instructions from the court to subpoena Prophet Magaya.
Chatambudza, of Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners, said Chief Insp Muchedzi said Prophet Magaya was supposed to attend court on May 17.
“Unfortunately he was unable to see Prophet Magaya as the prophet was preparing for an all-night prayer scheduled for the same day hence he was referred to our offices,” he said.
Chatambudza referred Mukwena to Rule 6 of the Inquest Rules which states that the sole reason of the process is to ascertain who the deceased was, how, when and where the deceased came to his or her death.
“Given the clear provision of Rule 6, we do not see how our client will assist the court in so far as this inquest is concerned. As such we are of the view that the court shall call evidence of people who witnessed the stampede to enable it to achieve its objectives in terms of Rule 6,” said Chatambudza in the letter, a copy of which The Chronicle has.
He said in his statement to the police, Prophet Magaya clearly stated that he left the venue at about 10:05PM before the stampede.
“For avoidance of doubt paragraph 7 of our client’s statement reads as follows, ‘I left at about 2005 hours and was escorted to my place. At 2050 hours I got a call that there was a stampede at the stadium.
“I drove to the stadium and found out that the stampede had already happened,’ That’s our client’s statement which is in your possession which is saying he did not witness the stampede.
“He does not know how the eleven deceased met their death,” said Chatambudza.
The inquest continues on May 17.