A SELF-PROCLAIMED traditional healer from Gweru, who allegedly defrauded his clients claiming he could make them rich and cure HIV, last week appeared in court facing fraud charges.
Lackshman Mantshontsho (23) of Mkoba 5 appeared before Gweru magistrate Beaulity Dube facing three counts of fraud after he allegedly misled three of his clients, Tichaona Boora (21), Angelbert Nziradzapatsva (25) and the third complainant (name withheld to protect his identity because of their HIV status).
Mantshontsho pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to April 17 for continuation of trial.
The State’s case was that on January 19 this year, the complainants went to the accused’s office situated along Third Street to be cleansed of evil spirits.
Mantshontsho allegedly told the third complainant that he had his own 'Aguma' and could cure him of HIV and advised him to stop taking antiretroviral drugs before charging him $1 500 and two beasts.
On the same day, Mantshontsho sold his wallet for $300 to Nziradzapatsva claiming that it was magical and could bring the complainant up to US$800 a day.
The complainant paid $100 through EcoCash before settling the balance in cash.
The court further heard that Mantshontsho told Nziradzapatsva that he was supposed to go and catch a hippopotamus and draw three litres of blood from it, but the latter became suspicious and asked the traditional healer to reimburse the money.
Nziradzapatsva was asked to wait outside the office, and in the meantime, the accused fled through the back door.
On the same day, the court heard, Mantshontsho sold a purported magic ring to Boora for $200, claiming the ring could give Boora up to US$500 000 a day.
The complainant was given herbs and ordered to put the ring and herbs in an envelope before Mantshontsho demanded an extra $200 for a traditional bag, which he said he was going to buy the following week in Bulawayo.
Boora made a follow-up on several occasions, but never got the bag. The matter was reported to the police, leading to Mantshontsho’s arrest.
He allegedly defrauded his clients of US$1 500, $700 and two beasts valued at $2 500.
Aguma is the name of the herb that PHD leader prophet Walter Magaya claimed could cure HIV.
Magaya made headlines last year after he announced at his church that he had found HIV cure. He sad the drug was a supplement that could boost immunity and cure HIV.
"I have tested Aguma fully on human beings and in 14 days they have been cured," Magaya was quoted as saying.
"I was offered $56 million by an American company for me to show them the Aguma plant, I turned them down," he added.
Magaya was latter arrested and fined RTGS$700.