Controversial church leader, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, has been arrested on fraud and money-laundering charges together with his wife. These charges involve more than R15 million.
The church confirmed this development by issuing a statement. The Hawks just said that they had arrested a couple but did not name them.
The statement from his Enlightened Christian Gathering Church said, ""As you will remember, from last year, we have struggled with reports that our father was guilty. He has been detained and is being questioned by the Hawks in Silverton, Pretoria."
"We were later made aware that they were members of the Hawks. They took the prophet and our mother, Prophetess Mary Bushiri, in handcuffs to Pretoria," the statement said.
Bushiri always has troubles with the authorities from time to time. Last year, his church was barred from operating in Botswana. This time around, there was a stampede at his church as congregants were scurrying for shelter amidst a thunderstorm. Three people died, and seventeen others were injured. An inquiry into this by the CRL Rights Commission found that the church was not liable for the deaths and the injuries since it fully complied with the safety conditions.
Maynard Manyowa, who is the person in charge of media relations at the church, said that "Police came in the morning to the hotel, picked them up, saying they wanted to talk to them. They wouldn’t tell us exactly why or how. They didn’t take them to as police station, but they took them to the headquarters of the Hawks."
Not much details have been revealed yet about these charges. For some, they are considering it to be the end of the road for the prophet whom they accuse of extortionate behaviour, and scamming congregants. And for some, this is such a sad development for them.
Allegations are that Shepherd Bushiri was sending about R15 million per month to his country of origin, Malawi.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Friday, "The Hawks’ case against the pair concerns alleged offences of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA). The crimes were committed from 2015 in relation to Exchange Control Regulations related to foreign currency in an amount of $1,147,200 (about R15.3m).
"The couple who run several business enterprises in South Africa and abroad are expected to appear before the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court on Monday," he said.
People are now eager on what will happen to the church leader and his wife, whether he will wriggle his way out of this and also save his wife, or whether he could be going down for good.
Some of the missionaries worked hand in hand with the colonial administrators in advancing the subjugation of Africans, whether knowingly or unknowing…
Header image credit: Citizen