Swindled with 'witchcraft'

Pensioner takes preacher to court

30 September 2019 | Justice

The Windhoek High Court will this week hear a matter where a pensioner claims she was swindled out of her home by a pastor and traditional healer.

Elizabeth Neis, a former nurse, claims Kenneth Kasume and his ex-girlfriend Josephina Amutse unduly influenced her to give up ownership of her home by transferring it to Amutse, who in turn transferred it to Kasume.

In her particulars, Neis explained that her path crossed with the duo when her late sister introduced her to them to seek spiritual help to deal with her personal troubles, including a bad loan of N$100 000 she had given to a patient who never repaid her.

She said she initially hesitated but Kasume convinced her that he would be able to help her.

“I went into his house and he led me to a small dark room. In the room I saw skeletons on the floor; he told me not to be afraid. While we were in his house, he told me that he knew I had problems with my daughter.

“He told me that he knew I had money problems and told me that he had a lot of money and would give me money. He also knew the man that I lent money to.

“I was amazed but also a bit suspicious that he knew what was happening in my life. But because I was desperate, I put my hope in him. When I look back now, I believe my late sister was the one who told him about my problems,” she said.

According to her, Kasume said he needed to see her house and after visiting it, he told her that it was bewitched, which according to him was the cause of all her problems.

However, although he claimed to be able to help her Kasume informed her that the witchcraft was so strong that he needed to subcontract three witchdoctors from Malawi who would help him to “cleanse” the house.

She told the court that one evening her son went to close the gate and called her in a panic. As she went outside she saw a handmade doll dressed in black and red with a small calabash around its neck.

“When this happened I believed what Kenneth said about my house. I called him to tell him what we had found and he came quickly. He told me again that my house was full of witchcraft.

“He asked for salt, gloves and a plastic bag, which I brought. He threw salt on the doll and used gloves to put it in the bag. Then he told me that my children and I should wash ourselves with salt and water.”

Kasume reportedly returned a few days later to inform her that it was too dangerous for her and the children to stay in the house and that he would have to stay in her house in order to get rid of the evil spirits. He said he would rent her an apartment for the time being.

“He told me not to tell anyone, including my children, about the other three men and also told me not to come to the house while he was cleansing it,” she said.

When she checked in on the property one day, she found people doing renovations on the house and Kasume was not available.

These people said they had not seen the three men from Malawi Kasume was talking about and when she called Kasume he got angry because she was at the house.

“I just kept quiet. Later on (Kasume) told me that the evil spirits were very strong and it would be good for me not to stay in my home anymore.

“He then offered to buy me another house and I agreed. In addition to buying me a house, he said he would give me N$200 000 and paid a total of N$185 000 in small instalments over a period of months.”

Neis added that Kasume and Amutse convinced her to declare at a local lawyer's office that she had sold the house to them for N$200 000 although he had not yet given her any money.

She said she trusted Kasume, but he reportedly stopped paying the apartment's rent after a few months and told her that he was getting her a home so she must pay the rent in the meantime.

Neis said she paid the rent with some of the money Kasume gave her from time to time.

Her daughter moved out and her son went to live with relatives.

She told the court that Kasume, who had coffins at home with many N$200 and N$100 notes stashed inside, had moved into her house for good but assured her not to worry.

He reportedly said he had N$2 million and took her around Klein Windhoek and Eros looking for houses but she wanted to stay in Katutura or Khomasdal, close to her work.

According to Neis they eventually found two houses in Khomasdal but Kasume reportedly said the ancestors had informed him that they too were bewitched.

Eventually they signed an agreement of sale with the owners of a property in Khomasdal but Kasume never transferred the money because his lawyers reportedly told him it was “too much”.

It was only when she heard about another woman in Katutura who had lost her house to a witchdoctor that she realised she too had fallen prey.

In his plea Kasume said he had bought the house from Neis for N$200 000 and had paid the entire amount as per their agreement.

“Therefore it pains me to note the deceitful ways of (Neis) to make assertions that the unimproved property at the time of sale was valued at N$1 million without any valuation certificate thereto. Such baseless claims lead to the initiation of this civil action to milk further funds out of me, whilst I was the one who incurred costs in renovating the property and substantially raised its market value,” he said.

He also claimed to have suffered damages of N$150 000 as well as emotional and reputational damage in public.

“My entire family, especially my children aged five, 13, and 14, suffer public stigma as a result of these false and humiliating publications made by Neis including eviction threats and privacy violation.”

Rachel Mondo from Nixon Marcus Public Law Office appears for Neis while Kadhila Amoomo appears for Kasume. Uanivi Gaes Inc. appears for Josephina Amutse, who is listed as the second defendant.

The matter will be heard by Acting Judge Collins Parker.

[email protected]