Bushiri supporters came in numbers to support their leader as they sang, prayed and danced outside the Pretoria Magistrate Court. Photo and videos by Raymond Morare.
Bushiri supporters came in numbers to support their leader as they sang, prayed and danced outside the Pretoria Magistrate Court. Photo and videos by Raymond Morare.

SHEPHERD Bushiri, his wife Mary and three other accused – Landiwe Ntlokwana, Willah and Zethu Mudolo – appeared at the Pretoria Magistrates Court for their bail application.

Accused number one, Willah Mudolo, abandoned his bail application today.

On the other hand, Bushiri, his wife, and the other two accused will have to wait longer to know their fate.

This means it’s going to be another weekend in jail for them.

The matter is being rolled over to Monday.

At the start of the proceedings, the state began with its application to oppose bail.

They said they are opposing the bail application for the Bushiri couple and Landiwe Ntlokwana.

The state said all the accused could interfere with witnesses should they be released on bail.

The court also heard that state witnesses have once been paid R500 000 from Shepherd Bushiri’s accounts.

They referred to the rape case against Bushiri, alleging it was withdrawn after the complainant was paid.

Bushiri and the other four accused are facing charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to R102 million.

The state told the courts that the accused were alleged to have invited members of the ECG church to invest funds into #lBushiri investments.

They further said they were promised a 50% return in the space of about two months.

The state continued giving their reasons for opposing bail, adding that Bushiri said he knows where he lives, but has not memorised the address.

But when Mary was arrested, Bushiri was there and they were told he lives in a studio apartment in Sandton but the address is unknown.

Read: Bushiri, wife face deportation from South Africa

They said Bushiri also said the children and Mary live together.

The state said the children, however, live in Malawi and visit South Africa frequently.

The court heard that Bushiri has three different passports and different addresses – one is in Malawi.

It was also revealed in court that Bushiri does not have any vehicles in his name, however his luxury vehicles are in the name of the prophetic channel.

“There is evidence that the channel cannot afford these vehicles,” said the state prosecutor.

She said the vehicles are not financed.

The prosecutor told the court that they believe two vehicles, a Bentley and a Maserati, and others, were illegally taken to Malawi.

The Maserati is said to have been bought for his daughter.

The state said Bushiri and his wife travelled to and from South Africa five times a month through Lanseria Airport with different passports.

The state said the Bushiris own various personal and business bank accounts and the state alleged that they use these bank accounts to fund the church, so that they seem like they are running a legitimate business whereas there is evidence of money laundering.

The state prosecutor read an affidavit by a constable, who has been dealing with the victims of this investment scheme.

They said the first complainant was allegedly contacted by Bushiri and his lawyer Terrance Baloyi for a meeting.

The Bushiris’ lawyer, advocate Anneline van den Heever, told the courthouse that they cannot be ambushed.

She said they have been asking for the affidavit from the state since Monday.

She said they are now forced to consult their clients on numerous allegations yet the state took the whole morning.

Van den Heever said some of the allegations were pure speculation.

The state prosecutor told the court that they do not intend to frustrate this case at all.

She further added that it was the state’s right to withhold the affidavit until there is clarity regarding the bail application of accused one, Willah Mudolo.

After an hour of adjournment, Van den Heever started her application with an affidavit by the husband of Ntlokwana.

The husband confirmed her address.

Advocate Van den Heever, who was now reading an accompanying affidavit for Shepherd Bushiri, said he denies ever interfering with witnesses or sending Baloyi to do so.

He also denied that he has interfered with state witnesses.

He also said they have a verifiable address and claimed when his wife was arrested, she stated that was her home.

Van den Heever said the allegation that Rising Estate transferred money into the prophetic channel’s bank account were unsubstantiated.

She said according to her clients’ affidavits, their children are still in South Africa.

She added that all their passports were handed to the investigating team and their Malawian diplomatic passports were also with the investigating team.

Bushiri denied being a flight risk, stating that he has deep ties to family members living in South Africa.

He also denied having property that is up for sale and that his wife has never owned any property in Dubai as alleged.

Van den Heever has handed a document to the court from the Malawian government stating the couple was given a Malawian diplomatic passport and not diplomatic status.

She said the accused cannot be kept in prison in anticipation for punishment and they are by law innocent until proven guilty.

“99% of the issues relaid here by the state were known by the state in February 2019. This very same prosecutor is involved in the first matter,” said Van den Heever.

She said it was astounding that last year bail was not opposed and now it is.

She pointed out that the accused were granted bail in 2019 and have so far abided by all the conditions. She said she does not see how they will not abide by bail conditions if granted bail in this matter.

“All their passports were handed over to the state in 2019 already. If the state suspects that there is a passport that was not handed over, why are they bringing that up now, a year and eight months later?” she asked the court.

Van den Heever said the Bushiris are willing to pay R200 000 each for bail and for Ntlokwana between R50 000 and R100 000.

The matter is being rolled over to Monday.-Daily Sun

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