Hawks tightlipped on Bushiri probe, while his lawyer claims no contact from SA authorities

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Shepherd Bushiri has skipped the country, despite bail conditions expressly prohibiting any form of international travel.
Shepherd Bushiri has skipped the country, despite bail conditions expressly prohibiting any form of international travel.
Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images
  • The Hawks said they would not give a "blow-by-blow" account of their investigation into how Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary exited South Africa.
  • His lawyer claims that South African authorities have yet to make contact.
  • The DA called on Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, to account to Parliament for his department's "abject failure" to effectively manage South Africa's ports of entry and departure.

The Hawks are tightlipped on their probe into how self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary exited the country to Malawi, while his lawyer Terrance Baloyi claims South African authorities have not yet been in contact.

Bushiri, meanwhile, did not skip a beat on Sunday and called on his followers to tune into "God's seasonal word" by streaming two main services of the Enlightened Christian Gathering online. 

The controversial preacher and his wife fled to their home country of Malawi sometime earlier this week citing that they feared for their lives.

The couple face charges of fraud and money laundering related to an investment scheme to the value of over R102 million.

Earlier this month the couple were granted bail of R200 000 each by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court and part of their bail conditions forbid them from leaving the country. Bushiri, known for his extravagant lifestyle, has yet to face his criminal trial.  

The Directorate of Priority Crime (Hawks) were tightlipped when contacted for an update on the matter.

Hawks spokesperson, Colonel Katlego Mogale, said the couple were meant to report to their nearest police station on Mondays and Fridays. She would not divulge which other departments were involved in the investigation and reiterated that it was ongoing.

The Hawks had earlier confirmed in a statement that the couple failed to report to the police station as set out in their bail conditions. 

"We are not going to play a blow-by-blow of this [investigation]," said Mogale.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday.

Ramaphosa said the working visit depicted the importance of the relations between the two countries, adding that South Africa attached great importance to maintaining warm and cordial relations with Malawi. 

"Built on historic foundations, our bilateral cooperation has grown, deepened and matured. We have concluded successful deliberations with His Excellency President Chakwera, in which we reviewed our bilateral cooperation and expressed satisfaction with the ever-expanding ties between our countries."

The two "noted the expiry of the instrument of cooperation, the Joint Commission for Cooperation, which is the mechanism for bilateral engagements between South Africa and Malawi and we expressed our wish to elevate the Mechanism to Ministerial level".

Presidency spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, was unavailable for comment on whether Ramaphosa would engage Chakwera on the Bushiri escape.

The DA had since called on Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, to appear before Parliament to account for his department’s "abject failure" to effectively manage South Africa’s ports of entry and departure.

DA MP Angel Khanyile said that borders were so porous that even wanted fugitives could pass through them with ease.

Khanyile questioned how the pair escaped the country without passports, considering that their documents were supposedly handed over to the NPA when they were granted bail.

"The fact that two individuals wanted for grave crimes have managed to flee our country so effortlessly is a slap in the face to the millions of South African citizens deserving of swift justice for this crime. There is evidently nothing stopping criminals from evading justice in South Africa by border-hopping when Home Affairs has no control over who enters and leaves our country."

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