The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, on Wednesday, sentenced a Zimbabwean woman resident in South Africa, Lady Memory Mutsika to three years imprisonment for stealing over R800,000 belonging to Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Mutsika, a 43-year-old treasurer of the aforementioned church based in Pretoria City and was sentenced, after the court convicted her of 128 counts of theft.
Several reports from South Africa said her duties were transferring tithe and offering money deposited to the church account, to the northern conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
But during Mutsika’s prosecution, the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Lumka Mahanjana said, “During a period of four years from 2012 to 2015, Mutsika transferred more than R800,000 of the money received from the tithe and offerings to her bank account and for her personal use.”
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According to Times Live, Mutsika, in court, pleaded guilty to the charges and demanded a non-custodial sentence to pay the church back the money over five years.
“However, the state argued that Mutsika always indicated her willingness to pay back the money and has not paid back a single cent since March 2022, after she was convicted. The magistrate agreed with the state and said Mutsika showed no remorse,” Mahanjana said.
The NPA’s spokesperson further stated, “He further said that he viewed Mutsika’s willingness to pay back the money, as a bargaining tool and as a ticket to keep her out of prison. Therefore, a sentence of imprisonment was appropriate and criminal conduct has consequences.”