'Security reasons' behind Bushiri's earlier than expected court appearance - Hawks

2019-05-09 20:59
 Prophet Shepherd. (Veli Nhlapo, Gallo Images, file)

Prophet Shepherd. (Veli Nhlapo, Gallo Images, file)

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Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary appeared at the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court earlier than expected, a move the Hawks say was due to "security reasons".

The embattled leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church and his wife were initially due in court on Friday, May 10.

The couple faces charges of fraud, money laundering and the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca), which they are alleged to have committed from 2015.

The contravention of the Act was in relation to Exchange Control Regulations of foreign currency of $1 147 200 (around R15m).

At their previous appearance in February, they were granted R100 000 bail each.

Their bail conditions included a stipulation that they remain in Gauteng. 

Magistrate Mark van Wyk ordered their travel documents remain in the State's possession.

If they needed to travel they would need to get written permission from investigating officers. 

Bushiri and his wife were also not allowed to make contact with any of the witnesses.

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that the court date was moved closer due to security reasons.

"An arrangement between the State and defence was made [for the couple to appear earlier than anticipated],"Mulaudzi said.

He declined to say what the security reasons were.

Mulaudzi added that after the agreement, the court was approached and the Bushiri’s "made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday".

The case has now been postponed to August 28.

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