Any currency put into circulation without legal sanction would have negative effects on the economy and the general social life of Zimbabweans, financial experts have said.

The experts were reacting to news that popular preacher and Spirit Embassy founder Uebert Angel on New Year’s night in Harare performed a miracle which saw hundreds of his followers incredibly receiving money. Angel had reportedly performed a similar miracle in Botswana a few days before.

“From a financial perspective, any currency produced without the legal sanction of the relevant state or government is counterfeit money or imitation currency,” financial analyst, Farayi Dyirakumunda said.

Dyirakumunda said the immediate negative effect of imitation currency included losses that would be incurred when people are not reimbursed for counterfeit money detected by banks, even if it is confiscated.

Another economist David Mupamhadzi said although the idea of miracle money was absurd, this could fuel criminal activities, as “everyone” feels they have the power to produce money.

Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said the police do not comment on spiritual matters but would react in cases where existing laws are breached.

Prophet Angel blasted those who are questioning his miracles, including some church leaders who came out criticising him, saying they were poor people who are suffering from jealousy.

He reportedly said if people could not explain how Peter, Christ’s apostle, found money in the fish’s mouth as instructed by Jesus, then they could not question how miracle money was found.

He said even the bank had no records of how the fish found the money.

Angel reportedly told his congregants that his bank account had been credited with large sums of money on several occasions after praying because he believed in God.

He would instruct automated teller machines to give him cash despite the fact that his bank account was in the negative balance, he claimed.