Gaborone High Court Judge Abdool Khan has ruled in favour of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Church Gathering International (ECG) in Botswana in a matter involving warring factions of the church’s leadership.
The members of the ECG have been cited as respondents in the matter against Bushiri’s church in which the ECG was seeking on urgency, a declaration order that they are not members of the governing body of the church and be interdicted from carrying any sermons under the name of the church.
They include Molefe Nkaro, Phillip Mogomotsi Matlala, Isaac Molapisi, Pearl Neelo Jone, Godknows Wateka, Thatayotlhe Noke, Lilian Mmoloki, Tolani Mbakhwa, Daniel Tico Mosala, Kelebogile Rodgers and Tebogo Noke.
The church is entangled in a dispute with the government, and was de-registered late last year for amongst other things not submitting audited financial results for two financial years. However, the church was given a lifeline pending their appeal before the Court of Appeal.
Justice Khan last Thursday issued an interim order against the 12 members of the church confirming their suspensions and interdiction from convening, holding out/or conducting sermons, church services or any gathering under the name of and style of the ECG pending the finalisation of the audit investigations being undertaken by the church while confirming the status of the current Executive Committee of the church as per its last annual general meeting held on November 25, 2017.
The court also ordered that in accordance with the applicant’s suspension letters, the respondents should vacate their positions and office as pastors in the church.
“The respondents are hereby ordered and directed to restore to the applicant’s possession the applicant’s church records, cheque books, invoice books, cashbooks,
ledgers, keys to leased premises and any other asset of the applicant in their possession within 24 hours of the date of this order, failing which the Deputy Sheriff of this Court is hereby authorised to gain entry to any other place that he reasonably suspect that the aforesaid items are being concealed and reposes the aforesaid items from the respondents,” read the order.
Khan also ordered that Thatayotlhe Noke, who is the seventh respondent or any person appointed by the church to be signatories of the applicant’s Bank account 62248988170 and 62739839738 held with First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB), Airport Junction Mall Branch or any other bank account of the applicant be removed as signatories thereto with immediate effect and replaced by any member who shall be selected by the Executive Committee in terms of the Church’s constitution.
The court also issued a restraining order against the respondents from vandalising the applicant’s assets, from carrying out acts of intimidation of any of the other members of the Church or its agent who shall give effect to this order.
The suspended members have also been directed to shutdown their WhatsApp group or Facebook page or any other social media platform opened under the name of the church.
Khan said all the orders operate as interim pending the final determination of the matter. The suspended members are to show cause why the orders cannot be made final when the matter resumes on March 26.