'Prophet' Bushiri and wife’s fraud, money laundering trial postponed until October
Pretoria - Self-proclaimed Shepherd prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary appeared in the Pretoria High Court on Monday, on charges including money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
The North Gauteng regional spokesperson for the director of public prosecutions, Lumka Mahanjana, said the matter was postponed.
“Prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri appeared in the Pretoria High Court earlier today (on Monday) for a trial after he was arrested on 1 February 2019 by the Hawks for charges of fraud and money laundering involving more than R15 million,” said Mahanjana.
“The case today (Monday) was postponed to 16 October 2020 for trial conference at the Pretoria High Court.”
The leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church and his wife were released by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in February last year on R100 000 bail each, after spending days in prison. The cases against the couple were later transferred to the high court for trial.
The couple is also accused of contravening South Africa’s exchange control regulations for paying about R19 million for a private jet.
During their appearances at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court last year, thousands of Bushiri’s followers, who refer to the preacher as “Major 1”, picketed, asserting his innocence. Busy streets in the vicinity of the court were closed to traffic.
Ahead of their court appearance on Monday, Bushiri's spokesman Ephraim Nyondo had urged church members attending proceedings to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
“The Enlightened Christian Gathering church would like to appeal to its members, followers and partners to keep calm and be in prayer as our leaders, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and Prophetess Mary Bushiri, appear before the Pretoria High Court," Nyondo said.
“In the wake of Covid-19, the church wishes to advise all those who will be standing with our leaders on Monday to observe and adhere to set health regulations of your respective countries. Further, the church would also like to extend its deepest appreciation to those that have been sending messages of solidarity though the hash tag #IstandWithMajor1. Keep on.”