HARARE – A court has heard of a desperate scramble to destroy evidence before police swooped on Walter Magaya’s office in Harare to seize unlicenced medicines he intended to sell as an HIV cure.
Police raided Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries property on Edinburg Road in Marlbrough suburb and found drug-making machines, packaging machines and what police listed as “prescription preparatory medicines”.
The “prescription preparatory medicines” are thought to be approved prescription anti-retroviral drugs, although a full description was not provided in court.
“Just before the search, accused persons destroyed some of the exhibits by flushing the Aguma in the office toilets and burning the containers which were however recovered half-burnt. Several Aguma sachets and other torn sachets were also recovered in an office bin next to the Call Centre office,” according to a document prepared by the Criminal Investigations Department’s Drugs Section submitted in court.
Magaya, who was released on $300 bail by magistrate Elisha Singano, was charged under Section 40(1) also read with Section 40(2a) of the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act Chapter 15:03 for “distributing or in any other manner whatsoever bringing to the notice of the public or causing or permitting to be published or distributed or to be brought to the notice of the public any false or misleading advertisement of a medicine.”
Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa said Magaya had used his church’s Yadah TV and the website of Aretha Medical to advertise his purported HIV cure called ‘Aguma’.
Police had also recovered 20 travelling bags containing empty capsules, plastic containers and plastic container lids.
Controversy … Magaya showing off a plastic bottle containing capsules of the claimed HIV cure last Sunday
Despite Magaya’s claims on Yadah TV made at a Sunday church service that he had found an HIV cure, Mutizirwa said Aguma was not registered as medicine or a drug with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.
Aretha Medical, the company behind the production, marketing and sale of Aguma, was also not authorised to carry out any clinical tests on human beings to prove that Aguma can cure HIV.
Magaya was remanded out of custody to November 26.