AFM pastor absolved of sex allegations

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Highlands Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor who was being persecuted by a congregant for allegedly harassing her sexually has been set free by the Magistrates court after he was found not guilty.

Benny Hwata (57) was found not guilty by Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba and he was acquitted of all charges.

Hwata was being accused of molesting a congregant while praying for her to pass her driving test. The court ruled that the man of the cloth, Hwata was being wrongfully accused as there was no evidence and the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had indeed committed the offense.

“The complainant in this matter was lying because she only reported this matter some months after the so called offense happened.

“If she was telling the truth she could have told anyone from the church because she alleged that congregates were in the church while she was being molested in the other room on the same building. She only reported the matter after her husband forced her to do so,” said Mashamba in her ruling.

The State failed to prove its case that on March 21 this year, the complainant, a 30-year-old woman, went to the Vehicle Inspection Depot for her driver’s licence road test, but failed because she could not clearly see the road markings.

She later visited Hwata’s office in the evening and narrated her ordeal.

They failed to prove that Hwata told her to kneel close to his desk and he placed his hands on her head so he could pray for her and complainant proposed that they moved to the centre of the room where there was more space.

During the prayer session it was fabricated that Hwata  moved his hands from the complainant’s head to the neck, breasts and fondled her. He later allegedly unbuttoned her blouse and touched her tummy and back.

The complainant alleged that she tried to remove his hands, but was overpowered and she then stood up and sat on the sofa.

The State failed to prove that indeed the woman protested Hwata’s conduct and started crying as the man of the cloth switched to praying in tongues while inviting the complainant to come back for more prayers.