Johannesburg – The fugitive Bushiri couple have been warned to present themselves to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday or risk forfeiting their R5.5m property at the Midstreams Estate in Centurion.
The Bushiris have already forfeited the R400 000 they paid to secure their release on bail two weeks ago. The couple were released on R200 000 bail each.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary face charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100m investment scheme.
On Monday, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court issued the Hawks with a warrant of arrest for the Bushiris, who fled the country at the weekend.
The controversial money-laundering accused pastor said on Saturday he had fled to Malawi as he “feared for his safety”.
Bushiri also said he had returned to his home country to formally ask the Malawian government to intervene in his court battle in South Africa.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said: “A warrant of arrest has been issued this morning by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for the two fugitives, Shepherd Bushiri and Mary Bushiri, who contravened their bail conditions when they failed to present themselves at the police station to confirm that they are still in the country.
“The Bushiris' bail is cancelled thus forfeiting the R200 000 each which they had posted as bail. They will also forfeit their residence should they not present themselves at court on Thursday, 19 November 2020,” said Mogale.
When the Bushiris were granted bail on November 4, the court imposed strict bail conditions, including the couple report to the police station every Monday and Friday, and were not allowed to sell any property. They were ordered to hand over the title deed of their Midstream Estates home to the State. They forfeited their passports and were barred from travelling outside South Africa.
On Saturday, Bushiri demanded the South African government assure the couple of their safety if and once they return to the country. He demanded the couple’s bail not be revoked and they be allowed access to their lawyers at all times. Bushiri requested the police officers and prosecutors involved in investigating, arresting and prosecuting the couple recuse themselves as he had laid a complaint against them two years ago.
He wants these law enforcement officials to be prosecuted first before they have their day in court. Bushiri also demanded independent investigators and prosecutors be appointed to pursue the case against him and his wife.
On Monday, Pastor Mboro Motsoeneng said in a television interview Bushiri tried to contact him on his phone last week.
But Mboro missed the call as he was busy with other engagements.
“He did try to reach me on Tuesday or Wednesday during the day. I saw a missed call from him. I did not respond.
“I sent WhatsApp messages to say I was busy during the day, can we talk and the phone was off, so I could no longer see anything until I saw what I saw in the media,” said Mboro.