Nov 16, 2020

Bushiri, wife flee South Africa for Malawi after R100 million fraud charges

'At this stage, we can confirm that he did not report at the police station as requested' - SA police

November 14, 2020

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Controversial prosperity gospel preacher Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary have fled South Africa just days following their release on bail after being charged with multiple counts of fraud.

South African police said Bushiri and his wife failed to report to a police station on Saturday as part of their bail conditions, hours after the self-styled prophet posted a statement on Facebook stating that he was now in his native Malawi.

The Enlightened Christian Gathering founder and his wife face multiple counts of fraud and money laundering involving over R100 million.

The Malawian claims he is being persecuted.

“I would like to inform the general public that my wife, Mary, and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security issues since 2015. These matters have gotten worse after we just got both our bails,” Bushiri said in the statement.

As part of his bail conditions, Bushiri and his wife were made to surrender their passports. Investigators have been left dumbfounded over how he was able to leave South Africa. By road, he would have to pass through at least one other country – Mozambique, Zimbabwe or Zambia.

In a statement, South African Police Service said: “There are unconfirmed reports that Prophet Bushiri and his wife have absconded from South Africa which is in contravention of their bail conditions as set in the Pretoria Magistrate Court.

“At this stage, we can confirm that he did not report at the police station as requested and agreed upon which is also an act of contravention of a court order. Investigators together with prosecutors have been working tirelessly since it came to light that he did not report at the police station.

“The current posts purporting to be issued by Bushiri who is said to be in Malawi are being authenticated and verified. An investigation around failure to comply with the court order is underway.”

Bushiri, in his lengthy statement, claimed there had been “clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed.”

“Despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been State protection. Our coming to Malawi, hence, is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa solely meant to preserve our lives,” Bushiri said.

Maintaining that he was not afraid to face the charges levelled against him, he said he had come to a “painful conclusion that what my wife and I have faced in the Republic of South Africa, since 2015, is purely persecution not prosecution.”

He said he would only return to South Africa after guarantees of his safety; an undertaking that his bail will not be revoked; that the police officers investigating him and his family stand down and official complaints he made about some of the officers trying to extort him are investigated fully.

“Finally, I want the South African state to appoint independent and professional investigators and prosecutors who should make independent decisions on the cases we are accused of. In this regard, I am requesting the Malawi government to liaise with the South African government to ensure that the above issues are met,” Bushiri added.

The couple and co-accused Landiwe Ntlokwana are charged with fraud and money laundering related to an investment scheme valued at R102 million. They are charged alongside Zethu and Willie Mudolo.

Bushiri leads one of the biggest churches in South Africa. Thousands attend his church services in Pretoria every weekend.

No comments: