Days after Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities expressed an intent to reinstate extortion charges against him for charging fees for his "heaven selfies," South African pastor Prophet Mboro has claimed that the evidence is already lost.
Based on a report by ENCA, the pastor is now claiming that the Galaxy Smartphone phone used to take photos of heaven is missing.
The pastor, who leads the Church of Incredible Happenings, announced last week that he was "captured" to heaven on Easter Sunday and was able to take photos of God's Kingdom using his smartphone.
However, for those interested to see the photos, he was reportedly asking a donation of R5 000 (around £240 or $340) for the photos to be transferred via WhatsApp.
This prompted the CRL to review earlier charges filed against the prophet for the commercialisation of religion and for his failure to file the audited financial statements of his church.
"We are monitoring the heaven selfies – this is extortion and commercialisation of religion. We are also going to issue him with a subpoena for the selfies," said CRL chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva in a separate report by ENCA.
Aside from legal issues, Mboro also faced online ridicule and ire from netizens who criticised the charge for the photos. As a result, the pastor said he would post the pictures on his Facebook page for free.
However, he is now claiming that the phone was lost at a carwash in Katlehong.
"The pictures were really there, I saw them. We suspect one of the boys washing the Prophet's car took the phone. But they all denied taking it, even after we threatened them. All those who have deposited money will be refunded," one of his bodyguards claimed.