The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) yesterday denied that it was pursuing Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa's United Family International Church's (UFIC) incomes following reports that officers from the revenue authority wanted to garnish the church's account.
Reports indicated yesterday that Zimra officials had in the past few weeks visited UFIC offices in Harare demanding books of accounts accusing the popular church of accumulating millions of dollars but failing to pay tax.
But Zimra spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said he had not heard of any such investigation but promised to check with authorities at his organisation.
"He had not responded to e-mail questions sent to him by the time of going to press.
Makandiwa's spokesperson Prime Kufa said UFIC had no issues with Zimra but confirmed that his church had become a victim of conspiracy theories.
"Everything we do at UFIC is above board and our books are okay and Zimra knows that. They have all the information they want and we are available with our records 24 hours a day. Here and there, we get people claiming to be from different institutions claiming to be investigating this and that. It is shocking that for more than a year, different sets of people come to us demanding information. Different officials have been coming to us demanding the same information, saying they would have lost our documents. We furnish Zimra with up-to-date information," said Kufa
Asked to comment on reports that rival churches were out to tarnish the UFIC image, Kufa said: "At UFIC, we don't have time for petty fights and jealousies. We concentrate on delivering the word of God which is our calling.
"You will never hear us attacking other churches because we serve one master – God. While this has been going on, spiritually we have been witnessing a mighty move of God and amazing miracles are taking place and our numbers are increasing and we are buying more tents to accommodate the increasing numbers. We will remain focussed on our primary objective which is preaching the gospel," said Kufa.
He also denied media reports his church was in competition with other churches for people.
A Zimra official, who refused to be named, said it was common that officials from other church organisations can be used by individuals to pursue personal agendas to settle scores without the official knowledge of authorities.
"In Harare, anything can happen, you find that these youngsters are paid to harass rivals using the name of Zimra, and any employee caught doing this is severely punished," said the source.
The development comes as churches appear to have taken their campaign to woo people into overdrive.
In Harare on Monday, fliers were thrown in the city purportedly from Prophet Walter Magaya's Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) ministries which read: "Prophet Walter Magaya is the only man of God and a real Prophet in Zimbabwe… the only true prophet who pulls the largest crowds through soul winning in Zimbabwe. Come and witness him performing real miracles every Sunday at Zindoga Shopping Centre. Don't be left out."
A top PHD official said she could not immediately comment on the fliers as she was out of the country.