A large contingent of International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) members gathered outside the Westonaria Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, chanting that they wanted their money back and demanding justice against estranged lawyer Papi Maluleke, who is accused of defrauding the beleaguered church of R200 000.
The matter was remanded to August 25 for his legal presentative to peruse the content of the docket.
Maluleke is accused of pocketing over R200 000 in bail money after he allegedly claimed that sum when the case against 42 church members relating to gun violence that took place at the church’s Silo headquarters in Zuurbekom in 2020 was struck off the roll last year.
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However, a church elder believes that the charges are fabricated to settle a personal vendetta against Maluleke.
The member said there were those within the church’s Jerusalema branch who believed that Maluleke knew too many secrets of the church and wanted to see him harmed.
The elder said:
Maluleke’s legal representative, Advocate Zola Majavu, said his client was not arrested but only summoned to the court considering the allegations levelled against him.
“My client appeared for the first time in court today as a result of the allegation lodged against him. When the police contacted him to alert him of that fact, he contacted the investigation officer, cooperated fully and it was then arranged that he was to make an appearance. He was not arrested, and he is not on bail,” he said.
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Majavu added that the state prosecutors had indicated to him that the investigations were completed and, therefore, he was entitled to the contents of the docket on behalf of his client.
He mentioned that Maluleke would not attend the next court hearing.
“For practical purposes, because I am back here in the same court before the same magistrate for a different matter that I am involved in, we deemed it prudent that we should postpone it for that day. And at that stage, I will have to confirm to the court that I have received the docket and the prosecutor, and I will agree on a trial date,” he said.
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In July 2020, five people were killed when gunmen stormed the church’s premises. The shooting seemed to have stemmed from the battle estate of deceased church leader Glayton Modise, who died in 2016.