Self-proclaimed prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, says he does not care if his property is seized in South Africa because his and his wife’s lives are more important.
Bushiri and his wife, Mary, were released unconditionally by a Malawian court on Thursday after they handed themselves over to the authorities in that country.
The magistrate ruled that the Bushiris were illegally arrested. They fled from South Africa to Malawi last week in contravention of their bail conditions.
Their R 5.5 million home has been forfeited to the state and their bail of R 200 000 each revoked when they failed to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
They are being charged with theft, fraud and money laundering involving an investment scheme of more than R 100 million.
The leader of the Enlightened Christian Gatherings Church said outside court in Malawi he believes in the country’s justice system and that is why he went to his homeland, seeking justice.
Bushiri claims he will not receive a fair trial in South Africa as the investigating team is biased towards him.
Hawks probing escape
The Hawks are investigating how Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader and his wife managed to defy their bail conditions and flee to their home country Malawi.
In the video below, Police Spokesperson Katlego Mogale is being interviewed:
In the video below, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says it is not clear which border the Bushiris’ used to flee the country:
Who are the Bushiris?
The Bushiris have stirred controversy for their flamboyant wealth and have been criticised for portraying false prophecy among other notorious spiritual leaders with mass followings.
Wealth and church empire:
The Bushiris have a major religious following in South Africa, being charismatic leaders who often claim to have spiritual healing powers.
Shepherd Bushiri’s church hosts a popular crossover service on New Years’ Eve annually at the FNB Stadium, which tens of thousands of followers attend.
The Bushiris own a collection of luxury cars worth millions, which include a Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin One-77 and Rolls Royce Black Badge. The couple also own a R5.5 million property at the Midstream Estate in Centurion and at least one private jet.
Bushiri has claimed to be a prophet with healing powers, saying he changed the fortunes of the impoverished, has cured people of HIV and made the blind see.
In 2017, social media users criticized the church leader when ticket prices to his “exclusive” gala dinner ranged between R1 000 and R25 000.
The Bushiris were arrested, among two others, in October on charges of fraud, money laundering and theft worth more than R102 million.
Earlier this month, the couple was ordered to hand over the title deed of their Midstream Estate home to the State. The Bushiris forfeited their passports and were banned from travelling outside South Africa.
Following their escape to Malawi, South African police have warned the couple to present themselves to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday or risk forfeiting their Midstream Estate property.
On Sunday, the South African government said that it had initiated the extradition process for Malawi to hand him over. -Additional reporting Sesona Mahlahla.
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