Thyolo magistrate court has sent a pastor to four years in jail with hard labour for deceit after he collected K300, 000 from poor villagers in a fertilizer deal that never materialised.
Prosecutors told the court that Pastor Peter Solomon Linyama of Holy Cross Ambassador went to the area of chief Nanseta in Thyolo where he promised in early October that he would provide two bags of fertilizer to each household that gave him advance processing fee of K10000.
The prosecutors said Linyama collected K300, 000 in the process but failed to deliver the NPK and Urea bags of fertilizer as promised.
The villagers then informed the police who hunted him and was arrested end October.
In his ruling Magistrate Ben Chitsakamire said the stiffer punishment was meted out because religious leaders are expected to be exemplary.
His co accused Associate Pastor Ferguson Musai was acquitted.
However the court sent the man of God to the four years in jail for theft.
He has since started serving his jail term.
Pastor Linyama comes from Nkasala Village in Tradional Authority Kalembo in Balaka District.