Self-proclaimed prophet Bushiri, wife to apply for bail

2019-02-06 07:42
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church appears before the CRL (Cultural Religious and Linguistic) Rights Commission inquiry. (Veli Nhlapo, Gallo Images, file)

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church appears before the CRL (Cultural Religious and Linguistic) Rights Commission inquiry. (Veli Nhlapo, Gallo Images, file)

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Embattled self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife are expected to apply for bail on Wednesday after they were arrested last week on charges of fraud and money laundering.

The two, who were arrested by the Hawks last Friday, received support from followers and believers during their first court appearance on Monday.

Hundreds of supporters congregated outside of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court to give their support to Bushiri, who is also known as Major 1. Among the supporters was another controversial self-proclaimed prophet, Paseka Mboro Motsoeneng.

Mboro said he was there to give spiritual and moral support to Bushiri and his wife.

Court appearance

Bushiri made a very short appearance alongside his wife on Monday, where the case against them was postponed for further investigation.

According to a report by the Sowetan, Bushiri will be using the services of top defence advocate Barry Roux in the bail application.

Roux rose to fame when he defended murder-convicted former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius in 2014, after the world-famous athlete shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.

Charges

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi previously told News24 that the case against the couple was linked to alleged offences of fraud and money laundering, as well as the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), which had allegedly been committed from 2015.

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

Read: Prophet Bushiri, wife arrested on charges of fraud, money laundering

In April last year, tabloid publication Sunday World reported that Bushiri was apparently making so much money from his churches in SA that he was able to send R15m a month back to his home in Malawi.

Mulaudzi confirmed to the tabloid at the time that the Hawks had been investigating the pastor, but cautioned that the case was in its early stages and that he could not divulge or confirm any details.

Bushiri's assets to be seized

Shepherd Bushiri supporters.

Supporters of Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader Shepherd Bushiri pray outside during his court appearance at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. (Thapeolo Morebudi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

City Press reported on Sunday that the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) - a branch of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) - had joined the legal fight against the controversial couple and had filed a preservation order application, seeking to seize their assets, pending the finalisation of the criminal case against them.

Two sources familiar with developments reportedly said the AFU had already filed an application at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, seeking its permission to seize the Bushiris' luxury houses and cars, as well as the self-styled prophet's Gulfstream private jet, which is parked in a private hangar at Lanseria Airport outside Johannesburg.

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Read more on:    npa  |  hawks  |  pretoria  |  crime
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