A ZIMBABWEAN woman left Seventh-Day Adventist Church congregants in South Africa singing off-key when she stole about R800 000 from the church’s coffers.
Memory Mutsika (43) was the treasurer at church when she dipped her fingers into the collection box 128 times in four years.
For her blatant disregard for Biblical teachings, Mutsika has been jailed for an effective three years.
She was convicted by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for 128 counts of theft.
As treasurer, Mutsika’s responsibilities included transferring tithe and offering money deposited to the church account, to the Northern Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson for Pretoria, Ms Lumka Mahanjana said between 2012 and 2015, Mutsika transferred more than R800 000 of the money received from the tithe and offerings to her bank account.
She said the woman converted the money for her personal use and that in court, she pleaded guilty to the charges and asked for 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,” said Ms Mahanjana.
“The magistrate agreed with the State and said Mutsika showed no remorse, and that she only stopped stealing not because of her conscious, but because she was caught.
The church placed her in a position of trust, but she betrayed that trust. 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.”
She continued; “Therefore, a sentence of imprisonment was appropriate and criminal conduct has consequences”.