By Nomhle Kangootui
A WINDHOEK woman will soon be homeless after a ‘pastor’ told her to sell her Wanaheda house she owned for 20 years, because God said so.
The 50-year-old single mother of four children, *Sarafina (not her real name), opened a case against ‘pastor’ Agustinus Shinima for theft under false pretences.
Sarafina said Shinima told her that her house was possessed by demons, and she must get rid of the house and give the proceeds to him for prayers.
“I initially got to know about the pastor through a newspaper article and decided to call him, and he gave me directions to his church. I attended his church, which did not have a name for close to three months. After that, he told me I will never find happiness and good luck because my house is inhabited by evil spirits, and that I should sell the house,” she told The Namibian yesterday.
“I did that, but regret it now because I gave away my children’s shelter. At the end of this month, I must move out of the house I am renting now,” a distressed Sarafina said.
The ‘pastor’ allegedly paid her rent in Goreangab for May and June only.
She initially did not want to sell her house, but Shinima allegedly said if she refuses, something bad would happen to her. He also told her if she tells family members about the selling of the house, her children will die and she will become crazy.
Shinima sold her house for N$1 480 000.
“His words scared me, and that is why I did not tell any of my children or family members. After I sold the house, he told me I must withdraw all the money and give him the money because he needed to pray for the money. We went together to First National Bank’s main branch, and we withdrew N$980 000 in cash. He had a big green bag, and I also had a bag with me. From the money, he gave me only N$15 000 to pay my debts,” said Sarafina.
She added that after he dropped her off, she never saw or heard from Shinima again as his cellphone was off and he had moved from the ‘church’ to live in the backyard of a house at Otjomuise.
Sarafina said she was devastated about the loss of her house, and decided to open a case against Shinima.
When The Namibian spoke to Shinima before he was taken into police custody yesterday afternoon, he denied taking her money, and said a witchdoctor whom he only knew as Musi took the money.
“He is a Congolese witchdoctor, and because he is a foreigner, he asked me to use my name and contact details. I did not do the things she says I did; it was not me,” insisted Shinima.
Shortly after the interview with The Namibian, police arrested him and took him to the Katutura police station.
But Sarafina is standing by her story that it was Shinima who took the money.
“Look at the cameras at FNB. Why would I lie? He really took everything from me and my children. How do I explain all this to my children? When he used to pray for me, I thought it would be the end of my suffering, but little did I know this was the beginning of my suffering,” a teary Sarafina lamented.
According to the Khomas police’s regional community affairs officer, inspector Christina Fonsech, it is not the first time her office is dealing with such ‘pastor’ issues.
“Frankly speaking, these ‘pastor’ issues and problems are getting out of hand, and it is indeed time to deal with them. The woman came to our office and said her house was sold by a pastor who disappeared thereafter. This is not something we are going to take lightly, because it is theft. We will follow the issue to the very end,” she stressed.
Fonsech said they will also investigate how the bank could allow someone to withdraw such a big amount of money in one day.
“These are simple things that should raise suspicion. The bank was supposed to call the police,” she stressed.
Fonsech also said from their investigations, they found out that the ‘pastor’ bought himself a very expensive car, amongst other things.