A HARARE man who had dragged prominent preacher, Walter Magaya, to court for allegedly bedding his wife has withdrawn the case before trial after the two parties settled the matter out of court.

Denford Mutashu, who was being represented by Normal Mugiya, had sued Magaya for $500,000 for adultery.

New Zimbabwe understands that Mutashu withdrew the charges after he was paid $150,000. Magaya was accused by Mutashu of sleeping with his wife, Nomsa Ruvazhe, who attends the pastor's PHD Ministries church.

Mugiya confirmed that an out of court settlement had been reached between the two parties but declined to reveal details of the settlement.

"I can confirm that my client withdrew the matter but I am not at liberty to give finer details of the withdrawal as I am not permitted to do so," he said.

New Zimbabwe understands that Magaya sought a settlement after he feared that the case would further embarrass him in court. He then offered $100,000 but the two parties later settled for $150,000.

According to sources, PHD Ministries finance department members and other church 'officials' are said to have advised the troubled prophet to honour Mutashu's demands and let sleeping dogs lie. Henrietta Rushwaya – a former Zifa CEO who is in good books with many senior government officials, and is also a member of the PHD Ministries Church and had become very close to Magaya, was recently summoned to Harare Central Police Station where she was grilled about the alleged extortion claims.

This was after she had been accused of being the hidden hand behind Mutashu's US$500,000 lawsuit. Reports also claimed that Rushwaya was one of the church officials who were 'advising' Magaya to swallow his pride and opt for an out of court settlement with Mutashu.

A PHD ministry official who spoke to the Daily News in August said Rushwaya and other officials at the church had fallen out of favour with Magaya after being implicated in sting operations to fleece money from the popular preacher.

"There are a number of people who had somehow become close to Prophet Magaya and the prophet thought that they had come for deliverance and to serve the church. But certain developments and subsequent internal investigations proved that there were a number of senior officials in the church who would organise underworld rackets to fleece the man of God of his money.

"They would come up with people who would cook up all sorts of stories and threaten Prophet Magaya with bad publicity in the newspapers. These officials close to the prophet would then advice the church to pay them off to silence them. But the man of God refused to be drawn into these issues because he is clean and does not need to bribe anyone.

"That is why he is prepared to fight such allegations to the bitter end. We cannot have people coming to church to look for money, this is not a business, it's a place of worship. PHD will continue to expose more people implicated in this," said a pastor with PHD Ministries.

Before finally settling for an out-of-court settlement, Mutashu, through his lawyers from Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers, insisted in their High Court application last month, that they have love text messages and a print out of mobile phone communication between Magaya and Ruvazhe.

He even revealed that he was in possession of evidence to support that Magaya had cheated with his wife. He pulled a shocker when he alleged that Magaya exchanged saucy text messages with his wife, Nomsa Ruvazhe, and was recorded on tape admitting to having an adulterous affair with her.

Mutashu's lawyer, Norman Mugiya, wrote a letter of demand to Magaya on August 4 but the preacher had not made a settlement out of court. However, according to New Zimbabwe, the two parties reportedly eventually settled for an out-of-court settlement where Mutashu is said to have walked out US$150,000 richer!

Mugiya said they were in possession of racy text messages and a printout of mobile phone communications between Magaya and Ruvazhe.

"Our client is in possession of video recordings where you admitted to have had an improper relationship with his wife. Our client then intercepted love text messages in her (Ruvazhe's) phone from you, Mr Walter Magaya, and our client also made a printout of the communication between yourself and our client's wife. Our client also noted that the affair between yourself and his wife has been going on for sometime and we are also in possession of communication which you made with our client's wife while in South Africa," wrote Mugiya in the letter of demand.

The lawyer also claimed Magaya was still sending love text messages to Ruvazhe even after meeting Mutashu in a bid to reach an out-of-court settlement.

"What is sad is that even after you had a meeting with our client to resolve the matter at your church premises, you are still exchanging love text messages with our client's wife through your close associates whom you treat as counsellors at your church and also bodyguards," read the letter.

With such bald and damning allegations backed by alleged tangible evidence, one wonders why the plaintiff would suddenly withdraw the case from the courts if an out-of-court settlement has not been reached.

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