We have 5 passports - so what? Bushiri lashes out at Motsoaledi for revoking permits

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Shepherd Bushiri appears in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Shepherd Bushiri appears in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images
  • Shepherd Bushiri has berated Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for revoking his permanent residency permits. 
  • Bushiri says this proves he won't get a fair trial in South Africa. 
  • Bushiri and his wife Mary breached their bail conditions and fled to Malawi last week. 

Self-proclaimed prophet and now fugitive Shepherd Bushiri berated Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday for revoking his and his wife's South African residency permits, among other things. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria issued warrants of arrest for the Bushiris, who fled South Africa and went to their home country of Malawi last week.

The couple handed themselves over to police in Lilongwe, Malawi on Wednesday, Malawian media houses reported.

The Bushiris breached their bail conditions when they left under mysterious circumstances.

The Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader, his wife 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 - a requirement in terms of their bail conditions.

IDs 'problematic'

On Saturday, Bushiri said in a statement that they had fled because they believed their lives were in danger in South Africa and that they would not get a fair trial.

In a new statement on Wednesday, Bushiri reiterated this, lashing out at Motsoaledi for "one of the many injustices that I feared would befall me and my wife".  

READ | Bushiris each had 5 passports and their permanent residence permit was irregular - Motsoaledi

This follows Motsoaledi's revelation that Bushiri and his wife Mary each have five passports - all of them Malawian. Motsoaledi was addressing the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on Tuesday.

Furthermore, when the Hawks was investigating the Bushiris last year, they came across "identity documents that were problematic", Motsoaledi said. He added that their permanent residency permits had been issued irregularly. 

"This internal process is already prejudged by the minister before I submit my representations on why our permits should not be revoked because we did nothing wrong," Bushiri said.

No fair trial in SA

"The minister went on to state that my wife and I hold five different passports each. The impression is that these are passports with different names and details. Once again, this issue is before the High Court in South Africa. This statement by the minister further strengthen (sic) my fear that I will not get a fair trial in South Africa."

Bushiri said he and his wife indeed had five passports each, including a diplomatic passport and a normal passport, and that they submitted all of the passports to the investigating officer in South Africa.

"Because we are frequent travellers due to the work of our ministry, the other passports are full; however, they have international visas and hence, we kept them. There is nothing sinister about that. Even the immigration department in Malawi has attested to that. In this regard, it would never be an understatement to conclude that of the fears of the injustices that I am fearing, the reason I came to Malawi, has just been confirmed by Honourable Motsoaledi, MP. The whole world was watching and saw for themselves," Bushiri said.

"I am innocent until proven guilty. As of now, there is no court in the world that has proven me guilty. I may be subjected by media and public trial but I mantain (sic) my innocence until proven guilty." 

Extradition process under way

South Africa is in the process of extraditing the Bushiris, News24 previously reported. This was confirmed by government spokesperson Phumla Williams on Sunday.

"To ensure that the two fugitives face justice, South Africa has initiated a process to secure their extradition from Malawi in terms of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Extradition and other legal instruments, to which Malawi is a signatory," she said.

"While this process is under way, law enforcement agencies will continue investigations into this matter."

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