It seems the year of 2020 has been a bad year for self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri in contradiction to his proclamation that God showed him that the year of 2020 is going to be, according to him, a “greaaatttttt” year.
Bushiri along with his also self-proclaimed prophetess wife Mary are facing charges of money laundering, fraud and theft of over R100 million.
The couple, originally from Malawi, spent the past weekend behind bars after the court postponed their bail application to Monday the 26th of October.
The charges arose when The Hawks summoned the couple last week Monday to discuss about their investment and property company Rising Estate.
In addition to the racketeering charges against the “prophets”, both Bushiri and his wife are also facing charges of contravening certain provisions of the Immigration Act of South Africa.
Magistrate Thandi Thelede ordered the couple to remain in custody citing that the other two suspects connected to the case were also being processed and the case would start at a later date.
The controversial Bushiri had a lot of support from his Enlightened Gathering Church devoted following who rallied behind him last Friday.
South African publication City Press reported that in 2017 Bushiri urged his followers to invest in a “commodity investment opportunity” which would see them earning a 50% profit within 30 days, asking them to invest a minimum of R100 000.
Multiple members have come forward with receipts of cash deposits into the Rising Estates bank account, and have claimed they have not received any returns on their investments to this date.
What we know about the charges
The Rising Estate company is owned by Bushiri’s co-accused Willah Joseph Mudolo and his wife Zethu Mudolo, and was registered in 2016.
It is not known as yet the connection that the company has with Bushiri, whether he is a director or not.
According to the church spokesperson The Hawks informed Bushiri’s lawyers last Monday afternoon that they were requesting the couple and their lawyers at their offices the following day at 11am to discuss some issues that arose from investments made into a company called Rising Estates.
Shepherd Bushiri handed himself over to the police on Tuesday, his wife was arrested soon afterwards.
In the prophet’s affidavit he said he would plead not guilty and if granted bail he had not reason to flee the country.
According to court documents the address that the couple listed as their home address had been put on the market and they no longer were living there.
Not the first time Bushiri clashes with the law
This is not the first time the prophet popularly known as Major 1 has been in trouble with the law, in February 2019 he along with his wife were arrested for fraud and money laundering charges of over R15 million, including allegations of illegal violations of exchange control regulations when they reportedly purchased a R19 million Gulstream jet in cash.
During the 21-day lockdown in late March Bushiri took to social media to ask for money, claiming that he would pray for the tithes as soon he got the “proof of payment”, to which he got a massive backlash.
In early 2020 Bushiri was also facing rape charges from two women who claimed that the ECG leader lured them to a Pretoria hotel and forced himself on them.
Bushiri’s Permanent Residency probed
Just when you think its bad for Bushiri it gets even worse with Home Affairs standing next in line to question the couple’s permanent residency status.
Two senior officials at Home Affairs have been suspended for their involvement in issuing Bushiri and his wife their permanent residence permits.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi stated during a media briefing broadcast that Bushiri and his wife entered South Africa in September of 2009 for the first time using a visitor’s visa, but when his wife Mary entered South Africa in 2012 she produced a permanent resident visa issued in 1997.
“She produced a permanent residency visa which was given to her in 1997, long before she entered the country. It was fraudulent,” stated Minister Motsoaledi.
The couple had already been served three notices by Home Affairs, with the third notice notifying the couple that their residency status needed to be withdrawn, and were given 30 days to make arguments of why their permanent residency status should not be withdrawn.
Pride comes before a fall
The sometimes boastful prophet will face an uncertain future in South Africa, and one would wonder why both the Enlightened Christian Gathering leader and his wife who proclaim to be prophets did not see all this befalling them.