UPDATE | Bushiri 'a wanted man' as warrant of arrest issued, could forfeit residence to the State

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Prophet Shepherd Bushiri at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
PHOTO: Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images
  • A warrant for the arrest of Shepherd and Mary Bushiri has been issued.
  • The Pretoria Magistrate's Court issued the warrant after the couple didn't report to police on Friday, as per their bail conditions.
  • The evangelist said on Saturday that they had to flee for their own safety and because they feared they would not get a fair trial.

A warrant for the arrest of evangelist, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife Mary has been issued, according to South African government spokesperson Phumla Williams.

"He is a wanted man as of today," Williams told News24. 

READ | IPID says Bushiri was 'too busy' to elaborate on police extortion claim

The warrant was issued by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. 

The Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader, his wife Mary and three others are accused of fraud involving around R102 million.

The couple was out on R200 000 bail each when it emerged they had not appeared for their Friday check-in with police, which is a requirement in terms of their bail conditions.

On Saturday, Bushiri said in an interview that they had fled because they believed their lives were in danger in South Africa.

He also claimed they would not receive a fair trial. He did not say on what basis he made the claims.

The Malawi government tweeted that President Lazarus Chakwera and his delegation were denied permission to leave South Africa on Friday night amid repeated searches, which the Malawi government regards as a serious breach of protocol. 

The overlap in Bushiri's escape and Chakwera's trip raised speculation that Malawi's leader - or at least his delegation - helped the Bushiris flee.

Meanwhile, the Hawks said the Bushiris' bail was "cancelled, thus forfeiting the R200 000 each which they had posted".

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said:

They will also forfeit their residence should they not present themselves before court on Thursday, 19 November 2020.

This is a developing story. More information to follow.

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