South Africa-based Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his co-accused his wife Mary as well as Landiwe Ntlokwana, will spend the weekend in custody at the Kgoshi Mamapuru Correctional Centre after their bail application was postponed to Monday at the Pretoria Magistrates Court.
Magistrate Thandi Thelede made the contentious decision to keep the pair locked up in jail earlier on Friday afternoon.
A myriad of legal discussions, including the submission of affidavits from both parties, prolonged the fraud case past the weekend.
“Bail is always urgent. But it cannot be delayed due to institutional issues. I want the matter to resume next week, and proceedings have been postponed until Monday 26 October,”Magistrate Thandi Thelede said
The pair, who have been behind bars since Wednesday, will now spend three more nights in the cells before they get another shot at freedom.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader and and wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri in the dock on charges of fraud and money laundering worth R102-million (about K4.8 billion) after they were arrested by the Hawks.
The alleged criminality is tied to the pastor’s property empire, which forms part of an investment portfolio worth roughly $150 million.
Advocate Anneline van Den Heever, on behalf of the accused, told the court Bushiri , 37 earns more than R500,000 (about K25 million) a month.
In his affidavit, Bushiri said he earned about R566,000 (about K25 million) a month. His wife Mary, 39revealed that she earned R221,000 (about K13 million) a month from “entities”.
Ntlokwana, a financial consultant and member of Bushiri’s ECG Church, said she lived with her pensioner mother who, together with her siblings, depended on her.
Her husband is an asset manager in Cape Town and she travels between Soweto and Cape Town, the court heard.
Outside the court, Bushiri’s supporters cheered in support to the controversial “prophet”, whom they call “Major One” or “Papa”.
Some held placards that read “there is nothing too hard for God”, while others read “Christians have been persecuted for far too long”.
Bushiri congregates also sang “there is no one like you our father”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :