Bushiri fraud case: Court hears that co-accused is allegedly an undocumented immigrant

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A co-accused in the Bushiri case is applying for bail.
A co-accused in the Bushiri case is applying for bail.
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  • A Zambian man accused in the fraud and money laundering case along with self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, is applying for bail.
  • A Home Affairs official told the court that the man was an "illegal immigrant" and violated immigration laws.
  • The State previously told the court that the Zambian citizen tried to flee the country three times prior to his arrest.

One of the co-accused who shares the dock with self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, is a Zambian citizen who allegedly violated local immigration laws, the court heard on Friday.

Accused 1, Willie Mudolo, allegedly conducted business in South Africa while in the country on a visitor's permit, a State witness testified.

"If he worked in the absence of a work permit then he was working in violation of the Immigration Act. It would render him illegal," Department of Home Affairs official Brendan Adams alleged.

READ | Shepherd, Mary Bushiri granted R200 000 bail each 

When he was asked what the Zambian citizen's status was in South Africa is, he responded: "He is currently an illegal immigrant."

The court also heard that two applications Mudolo had lodged for permanent residency were rejected.

Mudolo is married to South African citizen, Zethu. They have two children. 

Charged

He, Zethu Mudolo, Landiwe Ntlokwana, as well as Bushiri and his wife are accused of fraud, theft and money laundering involving R102 million.

On Wednesday, Bushiri, his wife, Ntlokwana and Zethu Mudolo were granted bail. Willie Mudolo, however, only applied for bail on Friday.

Adams told the court that if the accused was granted bail and he, for example, was stayed with his wife, it would create another offence.

"Him being granted bailed, it then creates an offence. For example if I had to accommodate him, assist him in any business, I would be in violation of the Immigration Act. You would be indirectly creating an offence," he testified.

READ | Bushiris barred from using sermons to threaten witnesses as part of bail conditions in fraud case 

The State, which is opposing bail on various grounds, previously told the court that he attempted to flee the country three times prior to his arrest by the Hawks at OR Tambo International Airport on 17 October.

But he denies the allegations and told the court in an affidavit that he was travelling for business purposes.

"The allegation by the State that I attempted to flee were baseless and unfounded.

"I was traveling to Nigeria to attend to business interests. I was not aware that I was not allowed to travel," he stated in the affidavit which was read into the record.

He also submitted that it was in the interests of justice for the court to release him on bail and gave an assurance that he would not evade his trial.

The matter was postponed to 19 November for Adams' cross-examination.

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