Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) leader, Shepherd Bushiri, his wife Mary and three others will learn their fate on Wednesday when the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court makes a ruling on their bail application. The Bushiris, together with Landiwe Ntlokwana and William and Zethu Mudola, were arrested two weeks ago and are facing charges of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised crime act to the value of R102 million.
After two weeks in custody, the Bushiris and their co-accused will finally know if they will continue their stay in prison or will finally go home. Legal parties finally wrapped up the lengthy arguments with the defence arguing the state’s case is weak. It argued the state has failed to say how the accused committed the alleged crimes and who are the victims.
The defence is persuading the court to grant the applicants bail as they have shown they are people of integrity and will not evade trial. They argue they have never attempted to abscond with their previous court matters.
The state, however, believes circumstances have changed since their arrest in 2019, with further investigations indicating they are flight risks. According to the state, Bushiri’s fixed properties no longer hold the same value, with movable properties either sold or placed in the name of other entities and vehicles moved out of the country.
According to the state, some congregants at ECG lost their monies after they joined an investment scheme through one of Bushiri’s entities which promised 50% returns in two months.
The status of Bushiri in the country is also in question. Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed their stay in South Africa was illegal. The Bushiris have since handed out all their documents and are ready to pay the R200 000 bail.
Bushiri bail application | Case resumes in Pretoria Magistrate’s Court