THE Johanne Marange apostolic sect member, Hatirarame Momberume, who was dragged before the courts to face murder and rape charges after he married a minor, Anna Machaya who died while giving birth, has reportedly disappeared.
His lawyer, Brian Majamanda of Khupe and Chijara Law Chambers told NewsDay that he did not know the whereabouts of his client, who was issued with a warrant of arrest last week after he skipped his first trial session.
Machaya died on July 15 this year during labour at a church shrine in Marange, Manicaland province.
Momberume was recently granted $50 000 bail by High Court judge Justice Isaac Muzenda before a trial date was set.
However, Momberume failed to turn up in court last week, resulting in a warrant of arrest being issued against him by acting Mutare provincial magistrate Richard Ramaboea.
Majamanda, his lawyer, showed up at the courts alone.
“Currently, we don’t know his whereabouts (Momberume). He has a warrant of arrest issued on him. I will give you more feedback tomorrow (today), I have been trying to call him, but his phone is not reachable,” the lawyer said.
According to the State, Momberume unlawfully caused the death of Machaya by failing to take her to a medical facility to receive medical care during labour.
Mombeume, instead, took Machaya to the Johanne Marange sect’s midwives, where she delivered, but died after complications.
He hid the news of Machaya’s death and proceeded to bury her without notifying authorities.
In order to cover up for the offence, he allegedly claimed that the person who had died was Memory Machaya, born on January 2, 1999.
Investigations later revealed that the person married to the accused was, indeed, Anna, a minor, leading to his arrest.