Durban – A Zimbabwean woman, who helped herself to church funds between 2012 and 2015, has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana, Lady Memory Mutsika, 43, had been charged with 128 counts of theft.
She said Mutsika was a church treasurer of the Pretoria City Seventh-Day Adventist church.
Her responsibilities included transferring tithe and offering money deposited to the church account, to the Northern Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
"Mutsika transferred more than R800 000 of the money received from the tithe and offerings to her bank account and for her personal use," she said.
Mutsika asked the court for a non-custodial sentence to pay the church back the money over a five-year period.
However, Mahanjana said the accused only indicated her willingness to repay the monies after she was convicted and had not paid a cent back since March 2022.
The magistrate said Mutsika didn’t show any remorse and that she stopped stealing not because of her conscious, but because she was caught.
The magistrate said the church had placed Mutsika 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. Therefore, a sentence of imprisonment was appropriate and criminal conduct has consequences," the NPA said.