A RUWA-BASED Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor, accused of raping a 22-year-old congregant, was yesterday placed off remand after the State failed to provide him with a trial date.

Oliver Makomo, attached to the Springvale Assembly, had, through his lawyer, Nickiel Mushangwa, applied for refusal of further remand after the State kept changing goalposts and failing to come up with a trial date.

Harare magistrate, Rumbidzayi Mugwagwa ruled in his favour and asked the State to proceed by way of summons should it decide to pursue the matter.

Makomo was facing four counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

The State had alleged that Makomo knew the woman as his congregant since 2012. Sometime that year, Makomo allegedly asked for her phone number and she complied. Thereafter, the two began communicating.

On one occasion, the complainant, who had nose-bleeding problems, called Makomo for prayers. According to prosecutors, Makomo invited her to his office, where he prayed for her.

Makomo then allegedly closed the door after the prayer and went on to fondle, kiss and insert his fingers in the woman’s private parts, repeatedly telling her she would be well soon. She left and did not tell anyone of the alleged sexual attack.

The State had further alleged that Makomo called the woman to his house during the same year. She found the pastor and his family at home and there were some visitors.

Prosecutors alleged that the complainant slept over at the pastor’s house. During the night, Makomo allegedly sneaked into the bedroom, where she was sleeping and raped her once.

In 2014, Makomo allegedly sexually abused the complainant twice after inviting her to sleep over at his house.

In August last year, the woman allegedly spilled the beans to her boyfriend, who then confronted the pastor complaining about the issue before making a police report.

Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.