The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a clergyman to eight years  for swindling over 300 Kabanana compound residents out of their money using President Edgar Lungu’s name.

Magistrate Alice Walusiku sentenced Apostle Paul Mulenga in his absence for obtaining over K3,000 by false pretenses.

However, Apostle Mulenga’s whereabouts are unknown and the court has issued a bench warrant for the authorities to take him to prison upon his arrest.

The man of God was charged with 39 counts  of theft but the prosecution only managed to prove eight of them.

He was jointly charged with five people whom he recruited to be collecting money from the members of the public.

However all the five accused have been acquitted as there is no evidence linking them to the commissioning of the offence.

According to the victims, the Apostle promised to contract them as polling agents and some were told that they would be carrying out sensitisation programmes on the Referendum ahead of the 2016 general elections after making some payments towards the fake deal.

The victims were issued with acceptance letters which were bearing the  forged signatures of the President after which they were then given indentify cards.

According to the witnesses, the convict assured them that he was connected to government.

Another group of people was promised to be offered loans after paying a certain amount of money.

In her judgement, the court stated that the convict had no capacity to offer loans to people after he got thier money.

Magistrate Walusiku said the evidence presented by the state was sufficient to warrant a conviction and subsequent sentencing.

She also said the state had proved that, apostle Mulenga received the said money through his organisation  after collecting from unsuspecting residents.

None of the victims was refunded the money and the sensitisation programme of the Referendum was not conducted best known to the convict.

The court further noted that the man of God intended to defraud the people as he lied to them about things he knew he could not fulfill.

The judgement further states that the Apostle used the loan issue to attract people.

Those who were jointly charged with the clergyman include Robert Mushili, Nicholas Mutenda, Steven Mulenga, Nelson Zulu and Martin Dube.