“For love of money is the root of all evil” High Court judge Tshepo Motswagole on Friday ordered that International Pentecost Holiness Church accounts be frozen until the church appoints a comforter- the highest position in church and whoever occupies it leads the church in all countries it is present.
The frozen accounts are Stanbic Bank Limited Account Number 9060000012553, fairgrounds Branch and Barclays Bank Botswana, account number 1092114.
The High Court order follows a fight between church members in Botswana and South Africa on who is supposed to be the comforter after the passing away of Glayton Modise on the 2nd of February 2016. Glayton Modise is the son of Frederick Samuel Modise the founder of the church who died in 1998.
The leadership vacuum in the church has caused divisions in the membership over who should occupy the position of comforter. The tussle has also reached courts in South Africa.
Sometimes early in April 2016 the Executive Committee of the church received information from some church members that one of the church priests in Botswana Thatayaone Baipusi had approached Stanbic Bank Botswana and Barclays Bank Botswana in an endeavour to change signatories to the church accounts.
In August International Pentecost Holiness Church which has over three million followers filed an application interdicting Thatayaone Baipusi acting in Concert with Tshepiso Modise the brother to Glayton Modise who claims that he has been appointed a Comforter from changing signatory’s to, or transacting on the Church’s bank accounts in Botswana.
According to the church’s investigations Baipusi held meetings in Botswana which were not sanctioned by the church where a fraudulent resolution was passed on the 25th of March 2016 with the assistance of certain members of the church from South Africa. The resolution appointed Baipusi to act on behalf of the church. This was done despite a resolution of the church’s council on the 3rd of March 2016 that Baipusi be relieved of all administrative duties.
The church investigations further revealed that on the 8th August 2016 Baipusi and Tshepiso Modise from South Africa approached Stanbic Bank Botswana and Barclays Bank Botswana attempting to transact on the church’s account.
The church has a following of over three million people; it also has a considerable amount of assets. In Botswana the church has two bank accounts which form the subject of the relief sought as well as numerous properties, the church owns property in every area where it has a branch and it also owns large movable property including Vehicles, Musical instruments, furniture, and building material. The church generates a lot of income from contributions and benevolent donations from members.
In terms of the church constitution the church’s assets, under the present circumstances where there is no comforter, are to be managed by the Executive Committee. The signatory to the church’s bank accounts was the late Comforter Glayton Modise who was based in South Africa. Since his demise there has not been any one appointed as signatory to the church accounts.
Tshepiso Modise has since claimed the position of Comforter and this has caused a rift among members in all the countries where the church has a presence including Botswana. There have been several violent confrontations between members of the church who support Tshepiso Modise’s claim that he has been appointed Comforter as well as those who dispute his appointment. In two incidents, Soweto and in Mabopane, South Africa three members of the church lost their lives in violent confrontations.
In Botswana the Church has endured several, near violent confrontations between members in support of Tshepiso Modise’s claim and those that don’t.