Prophet Bushiri remains in custody as supporters protest at court: ‘Weaponisation of criminal justice system’ 

South Africa-based Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s followers had to wait for eight hours as lawyers tussled in court, eager to convince the Judge to grant  the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church  leader and wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri, a bail on fresh on money laundering charges.

Bushiri and his wife Mary appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on charges related to fraud and money laundering
Prophet Bushiri’s supporters outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.- photo by eNCA/Tshego Moagi
Bushiri’s supporters outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.- photo by eNCA/Tshego Moagi
Shepherd Bushiri’s supporters outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court
eNCA/Tshego Moagi

Bushiri, 37, and his wife Mary, 39, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud and money laundering worth R102-million  (about K4.8 billion) on Wednesday after they were arrested by the Hawks the previous day.

The wait didn’t materialize as the State stood in the way, requesting the Court to postpone the bail hearing application while, also, resisting bail.

Bushiri’s lawyers vehemently opposed the State’s stance to the effect that they demonstrated their readiness by submitting bail applications affidavit.

Advocate Anneline van Den Heever, on behalf of the accused, told the court that they were ready to proceed and that the State was not entitled to have the matter postponed.

“When you arrest, you must be ready to proceed. One expects that when one applies for a warrant of arrest in a matter that has been investigated for a prolonged period., the State and investigations team should have their house in order,” she argued before the court.

After a careful examination of the arguments, the Court rolled tha matter over to Friday, 23rd October, 2020 and, also, possibly the bail hearing.

In a statement, Bushiri spokesperson  Ephraim Nyondo said they are unhappy with what hey feel is a weaponisation of the criminal justice system.

“The state reserves the right to arrest and prosecute but surely they cannot always arrest and then claim they are not ready to proceed,” he said.

He added that Prophet Bushiri and Prophetess Mary Bushiri have always vehemently stood by their innocence and are resolute in their stance that they are innocent .

Outside the court, Bushiri’s supporters  cheered in support to the controversial “prophet”, whom they call “Major One” or “Papa”.

“We are here to support our prophet, major one, who is the only prophet in the whole world. He is a man of God and I believe and I trust that he is not guilty, he is the victim of the plot of the so-called devil,” one of his supporters told eNCA TV.

“There is no way they can take him down because our God is alive and kicking and we are not afraid.”

Bushiri has been referred to as one of the richest religious leaders on the continent, worth an estimated $150-million, and is often pictured with his private jet or luxury vehicles. ECG operates in multiple African countries, with 110 branches and a million worshippers in South Africa, Bushiri said  in recent court papers.

Bushiri’s Sandton-based company Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI)has interests in mining, real estate, and an airline.

In 2018, Bushiri launched the sprawling Sparkling Waters Hotel and Spa in Ranstenburg.

According to Bushiri, he ventured into business “to support his family as he does not believe the church must support his family.”

The Hawks said Willah Mudolo and Zethu Mudolo were also arrested on Saturday, 17 October in the same case.

Willah Mudolo is the founder of the African Development Funding Group and according to his LinkedInand personal website is a major supporter of former first lady Tobeka Zuma’s foundation. He also leads property development company Rising Estates.

Video clips of Bushiri telling congregants he foresaw that 2020 would be a “great year” have been widely circulated on social media.  But the year has been dogged with a lot of battles for Bushiri his rival evangelical pastor Mboro Motsoeneng is accusing the Malawian prophet of swindling church members.

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Justice for all
Justice for all
1 month ago

Bushiri is a crook he registered his business under his church so that he shouldn’t pay tax and south African government is getting more interesting to catch him because he is making lots money the best way is he supposed to just pay and stay clear but if he agree means more hot water for him so his lawyers advising him to deny more money for lawyers as well

The truth shall set you free
The truth shall set you free
1 month ago

I don’t think you are all true Malawian citizens our fellow citizen is being treated unfairly, is being dinied justice by just postponing the case and you are all here mocking talking nonsense and this nonsense you are talking here is what makes people outside to treat us as nothing imagine if it was a South African do you think they could have reacted the way you are talking by now there could have been another xenophobia if you don’t value your fellow citizen dignity or if you don’t respect your fellow citizen do you think SA government will respect… Read more »

Nangozo
Nangozo
1 month ago

All he need is one miracle b4 the Hawks, like Paulo ndi Sira zitseko zandende zimangotseguka zokha.

Ngombwax
Ngombwax
1 month ago

Papa is toast ….

Mwaonongabukhu
Mwaonongabukhu
1 month ago

This man used to walk in the air. Pali chani apa, fraud and money laundering is easier to do than walking in the air.

Dumb Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Mwaonongabukhu

I love walking on air. Very exhilarating. I wanna be prophet soon!

Savage Appetite
1 month ago

What’s the importance of prophets and prophetesses? How much money do they make? How do they make their money?

Botolo la mdaliso
Botolo la mdaliso
1 month ago

Mlaka maliro ayimbe nyimbo….ndikubwera posachedwa moyenda mwanditopesa chilichose ndi ndalama…..!!!!! Come back uncle Bu….invest in your country…as I can see no building for you in Malawi

Chisale
Chisale
1 month ago

The court also wanted to verify Bushiri’s residential address. When Bushiri’s wife was arrested by the Hawks, she told them that Bushiri doesn’t live at that address but at the hotel. Interesting stories.

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