Hawks arrest Shepherd Bushiri, wife over R100m fraud case
Pretoria - The directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) yesterday arrested Shepherd Bushiri, leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church, and his wife Mary over a R100million fraud case.
Without mentioning the Bushiris by name, Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said four people, “including a pastor aged between 25 and 39”, have been arrested for alleged involvement in fraud and money laundering totalling R102m.
“The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation members arrested the first couple on Saturday, the woman in Sandton and her husband at OR Tambo International Airport.
“The two, Willah Mudolo and Zethu Mudolo, have since appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and their case was postponed to October 30 for a formal bail application,” Mogale said.
“On Tuesday (yesterday), the team made a further arrest of another couple allegedly involved in the same case.
“The woman, 39, was arrested at her home, and her husband, 37, after trying to evade the team, handed himself over at Silverton police station with an entourage of attorneys.”
The church’s spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo, earlier issued a statement, saying the Hawks had arrested Mary Bushiri before a scheduled appointment.
“The Hawks informed lawyers of our leaders, prophet Shepherd Bushiri and prophetess Mary Bushiri, late on Monday afternoon that they (the Hawks) are requesting the couple to go to their offices by 11am (yesterday accompanied by their lawyers to discuss an issue concerning a certain investment, pertaining to a certain company called Rising Estate,” said Nyondo.
“We are told that as the prophet and lawyers were getting prepared for the 11am appointment, the Hawks went to their house and arrested the prophet’s wife alone.”
Nyondo yesterday afternoon said the Bushiris were at the Hawks offices in Pretoria.
He said Bushiri went to the Hawks offices to hand himself over after his wife’s arrest.
“He believes in the justice system of the country and he will abide by all that the law compels until all this war is done.
“As the matter is under criminal investigation, we have been advised not to discuss it any further,” said Nyondo
The charismatic leader of the popular church and his wife were first arrested last year and later released by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on R100 000 bail each, after spending days in prison.
They appeared briefly in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Friday where their trial was postponed.
The case will take place in the same court between May 31 to June 18 next year.
The are facing charges including money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Prevention of the Organised Crime Act.
The couple is also accused of contravening South Africa’s exchange control regulations by paying about R19 million for a private jet.
In another matter, two unidentified women spoke to broadcaster eNCA, accusing the Malawian prophet of luring them to the plush Sheraton Hotel in the city supposedly to pray, only for him to allegedly rape them.
Last month Bushiri lost the first round of his legal battle against fellow prophet Paseka Motsoeneng, known as Mboro, on technical grounds as the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, found the matter was not urgent.
Judge David Makhoba did not rule on the merits of the case and he simply struck it from the roll for lack of urgency.
Bushiri will, however, have to foot the legal bill for this round.
Bushiri had applied for an urgent interim interdict to gag Mboro as well as former taxi owner Felicia Sibeko and her husband Arthur from badmouthing him on social media and in public.
The Sibekos claimed that Bushiri had conned them out of their life savings and had made public a statement in which they referred to Bushiri as, among others, a thief and a crook.
African News Agency (ANA)