Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader Shephered Bushiri and his wife, Mary Bushiri have become one of the most wanted by South African law enforcement following an illegal escape out of the country over the past weekend.
The self-proclaimed prophet and prophetess unlawfully left South Africa for their home country of Malawi, violating their bail conditions. Earlier this month, the couple were granted R200 000 bail each on charges of theft, money laundering and fraud by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.
The Bushiris have stirred controversy for their flamboyant wealth and have been criticized for portraying false prophecy among other notorious spiritual leaders with mass followings.
Hawks are investigating prophet Bushiri and wife’s escape to Malawi:
Wealth and church empire:
The Bushiris have a major religious following in South Africa, being charismatic leaders who often claim to have spiritual healing powers.
Shepherd Bushiri’s church hosts a popular crossover service on New Years’ Eve annually at the FNB Stadium which tens of thousands of followers attend.
The Bushiris own a collection of luxury cars worth millions, which include a Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin One-77 and Rolls Royce Black Badge. The couple also own a R5.5m property at the Midstream Estate in Centurion and at least one private jet.
Bushiri has claimed to be a prophet with healing powers, saying he changed the fortunes of the impoverished, has cured people of HIV and made the blind see.
In 2017, social media users criticized the church leader when ticket prices to his “exclusive” gala dinner ranged between R1 000 and R25 000.
The Bushiris were arrested, among two others, in October on charges of fraud, money laundering and theft worth more than R102 million.
Earlier this month, the couple was ordered to hand over the title deed of their Midstream Estate home to the State. The Bushiris forfeited their passports and were banned from travelling outside South Africa.
Following their escape to Malawi, South African police have warned the couple to present themselves to the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday or risk forfeiting their Midstream Estate property.
ECG Church leader Bushiri address post departure to Malawi