The Mangochi Senior Resident Magistrate Court on Friday convicted Pastor for Kapiri Living Waters Church in Mangochi, Edward Sankera, of raping an18 year old girl without her consent and thereafter revoked the bail the convict was granted.
Senior Resident Magistrate Rodrick Michongwe said the victim disclosed in the court during previous hearing that Sankera had sex with her four separate times last year as this was contrary to Section 133 of the Penal Code.
“Between March and April 2021, Sankera had sex with the victim at Kapile Village in Mangochi without her consent while his wife was attending overnight prayers and he threatened her never to reveal to anyone,” he said.
Michongwe said in the court that Prophet Gonda, a member of the Kapiri Living Waters Church also testified in court.
"Prophet Gonda said he approached the victim after noting that she looked unhappy and was not actively participating in the Church's praise team at the Kapiri Living Waters Church and this prompted the victim to disclose to him that Sankera had been having sex with her,” the Magistrate said, adding that it was Gonda that advised the victim to report the issue to the Church leadership.
According to Michongwe, the church later informed the victim's parents about the issue despite the other church members’ insistence that the issue be handled by the church.
The young woman was living with Sankera's family from February 2021 and returned to her parents August, 2021 when the rape issue was brought to light.
Sankera was later arrested by Mangochi Police and granted him court bail after denying the rape allegations.
However, Michongwe said that the state had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had a case to answer.
He convicted Sankera of the rape charge and revoked the bail.
The State and Counsel for the accused are expected to make their submissions on the accused sentence within 10 days.
The rape case will return to court on August 31, 2022 for the court's ruling.
Sankera comes from Manyowe area, in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Kuntaja in Blantyre.