Fake resurrection fraud case postponed to establish accused's nationality
Two people charged with fraud in connection with the hoax resurrection at Alleluia Ministries International have had their matter postponed.
Nkululeko Dlamini, 35, and Silungisani Grace Sibanda, 40, appeared briefly in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on three charges of fraud on Wednesday.
Dlamini appeared confused as he was brought into the dock while Sibanda kept a stern look on her face.
The state requested that the matter to be postponed to verify Dlamini’s nationality after it was revealed that he was in possession of a Zimbabwean and a South African passport.
Prosecutor Mzamo Mathe told the court that Dlamini’s South African passport indicated that he was born in the country.
“Furthermore, the names on both passports do not correlate so we need to postpone the matter to understand who we are dealing with,” Mathe told the court.
Mathe added that further arrests were expected to be made and that they were in possession of a warrant of arrest for one more suspect.
The matter was postponed until April 26 for verification of Dlamini’s nationality.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told the media that the church's leader Alph Lukau was not yet arrested as investigations were ongoing.
Asked whether the NPA was aware of reports that Brighton "Elliot" Moyo, the man who was “resurrected”, had died, Mjonondwane said: “We cannot comment on the matter because the South African Police Service are dealing with the investigations.”
Police spokesperson Capt Mavela Masondo said in March that SAPS was investigating three cases of fraud opened in connection with the "resurrection" incident.
"One case was opened by a funeral parlour based here in Gauteng, another case was opened by people who said they were concerned citizens, and a third one was opened by pastor Mboro [Paseka Motsoeneng]," said Masondo.
Kings and Queens funeral parlour denied any knowledge of the "deceased" or selling the coffin to the church.
Moyo, the man falsely "brought back to life", has meanwhile died of pneumonia in his home country of Zimbabwe where he was known as Thabiso Mlanje, 28.
Initially dubbed "Elliot" by Alleluia Ministries, he had on a previous occasion been "healed" from being confined to a wheelchair, a colleague of his said.
Moyo, who according to his family had been in SA since 2011, had been employed by a customised door manufacturing company prior to going missing after the "resurrection" hoax.
The church has denied knowing in advance that it was a "fake miracle".
“At no stage did pastor Alph claim that he resurrected the person shown in the video, who was identified to him as Elliot. From the video footage, it is clearly stated that when the mortuary vehicle arrived at the church premises, there was already movement in the coffin.
"Prior to even praying for Elliot, pastor Alph states that Elliot is in fact breathing," the church said in a statement issued at the time the scandal first broke.