The leader of Jerusalem, a faction of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) based in Pretoria, is facing charges for faking the death of his estranged wife, all to get his hands on three properties valued at nearly R1.5 million in total. Michael Sandlana, the 60 years old leader is married to Magalane Benedita Sandlana who is very much alive, and was alerted to her apparent death by the bank.

According to reports, Sandlana was working with his lawyer, Albert Ramothwala, who helped with the fraudulent documentation to gain access to his estranged wife’s assets. Ramothwala allegedly handed in documents to the master of the high court in Pretoria, which included Magalane’s “death certificate”, inventory of properties, a nomination form, and acceptance of trust as executor.

The clergyman and his lawyer are expected to go on trial in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in June, as reported by Sunday Times. Sandlana (and his company Ntate O Lerato) are under investigation for allegedly stealing the identity of a rival church leader, Glayton Modise, who passed away in 2016. Modise used to head the IPHC, one of Africa’s biggest churches with approximately three million people in the congregation.The IPHC pastor’s son, Frederick Modise, succeeded his father in 2016.

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