Bushiri fraud case: Matter postponed as State awaits outcome of extradition hearing

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Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.
Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.
Gallo
  • The fraud case against self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his co-accused has been postponed as the State awaits the outcomes of the extradition hearing.
  • Bushiri and his wife, Mary, fled the country shortly after being granted bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in November 2020.
  • Bushiri and his co-accused are facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering to the tune of R102 million. 

The fraud, theft and money laundering case against self-proclaimed prophet and now fugitive Shepherd Bushiri has been postponed as the State awaits the outcome of his extradition hearing in Malawi.

Bushiri's co-accused, Willah Mudolo, his wife Zethu and Landiwe Ntlokwana appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Bushiri and his wife Mary, who is also a co-accused, were not present as they had fled the country, returning to their homeland of Malawi soon after being granted bail by the same court in November last year.

The accused face multiple charges of fraud, theft and money laundering in relation to an investment scam, which allegedly defrauded investors to the tune of R102 million.

The State requested a lengthy postponement as it was waiting for the outcome of the Bushiris' extradition hearing, set to start on 8 March in Malawi.

READ | Bushiris' formal extradition hearing set for 8 March

The prosecutor added that further investigations were underway. The matter was postponed to 4 May.

News24 recently reported Bushiri and his wife obtained an interdict - in the High Court of Malawi - preventing Malawian police and the Director of Public Prosecutions from effecting an arrest.

This, according to their lawyer Wapona Kita, who said that the Bushiris' minor daughters were recently blocked from flying out of Malawi to Kenya.

Custody

Meanwhile, back in South Africa, Mudolo remains the only accused in custody after his bid for bail was denied in December.

The court said that Mudolo, who is a Zambian national, was a flight risk, having attempted to flee the country three times before he was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on the third attempt. He had bought a one-way ticket.

His defence that he was leaving on a business trip was not accepted by the court. 

READ | Bushiris interdict Malawian cops from arresting them: lawyer

The State previously refuted this as well, placing it on record that the amount of clothes found in his bags could not have been for a three-day business trip. 

Magistrate Thandi Theledi also accepted the evidence of an official from the Department of Home Affairs, who testified that Mudolo was not in the country legally as his visitor's visa had expired. 

READ | Bushiri fraud case: No bail for co-accused Willah Mudolo, court rules he is a flight risk

She did not accept Mudolo's version that he could not renew it because of Covid-19. 

Evidence

Furthermore, Theledi accepted the evidence produced by the State that Mudolo was in possession of a cellphone and was communicating with an unknown person. 

She also found it disturbing that one of the conversations was about bribing court officials. 

News24 previously reported that Mudolo had access to two cellphones while in custody at Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Tshwane and that he had signed a document admitting he had a cellphone.

This phone was used to WhatsApp a number of people, including an unknown person who claimed to have an advocate that could help facilitate a bribe to get him out of prison.

Mudolo denied having access to a cellphone and accused the Department of Correctional Services of forging his signature on a document in which he confessed to having access to the device.

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