- Enlightened Christian Gathering leader Shepherd Bushiri has been accused of raping two women.
- They allege he met them in hotels and gave them each R5 000.
- Bushiri denies the allegations, saying they have been conjured up by an "extortion syndicate" that includes the Hawks.
Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri has denied rape allegations levelled against him by two women, saying the Hawks were "intimidating women" to lay false charges against him.
The women were interviewed by eNCA on Wednesday evening.
The Malawian church leader stated that he had been "dealing with extortion" for the past three years. He claimed an officer at the Hawks had been "intimidating women and children to come up with false rape allegations against us".
In a separate case currently before the court, Bushiri and his wife Mary faced charges of fraud, money laundering and the contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act for offences they allegedly committed from 2015.
In the interview, one of the women claimed she was under "some power that I didn't even know" when Bushiri allegedly took off her clothes and raped her at a hotel. He allegedly gave her R5 000 and told her to "just take the money and go".
A second woman told the channel that Bushiri asked to meet her at a hotel and when she got there, he was naked. "He asked me to take my clothes off. I was afraid, I didn't know what to do," she said. After allegedly raping her, he told the woman to take R5 000 from a drawer.
'Extortion syndicate' making false allegations
Bushiri emphatically denied the claims, saying: "This has been done together with members of the media. This woman comes and demands money from us. The supposed victims come and demand money from us. The shameless journalists also demand money from us."
He said for the past three years, the Hawks officer had been running an "extortion syndicate" against him and "sending girls to demand money from us and if we don't give, she told the girls to go public and accuse us of raping them".
Bushiri claimed he had reported the matter to several law enforcement agencies, but that "no action" was taken.
The church leader further said that the women demanded money from him to stop them from telling their stories to eNCA.
"Well, we told them we are not giving a single coin to them to stop e.tv from running this story. [They] must go ahead. We are going to sue you and your extortion cohorts."
According to eNCA, police confirmed they're investigating the allegations, but police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters could not confirm to News24 whether charges of rape had yet been laid against Bushiri.
Reacting to the extortion allegations, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said Bushiri should open a case.
"These are serious allegations and as a leader he should lead by example."