On Wednesday, November 9, the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in South Africa sentenced Lady Memory Mutsika of Zimbabwe to 3 years in direct imprisonment for 128 charges of theft.
Mutsika, 43, served as the church treasurer for the Seventh-Day Adventist congregation in Pretoria City. Her duties included sending donations made to the church account for tithes and offerings to the Northern Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
In the four years between 2012 and 2015, Mutsika moved to her bank account and used for personal purposes more than R800 000 of the money she got from the tithe and offerings.
She admitted to the allegations in court and requested a non-custodial sentence so she could repay the church the money over a five-year period.
The state countered that Mutsika never wavered on her promise to repay the funds and hasn’t made a single payment since her conviction in March 2022.
According to the magistrate, who agreed with the state, Mutsika displayed no remorse. He claimed that she quit stealing not out of conscience but rather as a result of getting caught. She was given a position of trust by the church, but she betrayed it.
Furthermore, he stated that he saw Mutsika’s willingness to repay the money as a negotiating chip and as a pass to keep her out of jail. Therefore, a prison term was appropriate, and crime has repercussions.