BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, founder and leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), has reacted to news that South Africa government has seized his property saying his life is more important than his assets.
Bushiri, who together with his wife Mary got arrested by the Malawi Police on Wednesday, made the remarks immediately after the court released him unconditionally on Thursday in Lilongwe during an interview with the multitude of journalists who attended the court proceedings.
“My wife and I appeared before the Magistrate Court today following the decision we took to hand ourselves to Malawi Police on Wednesday after we heard that law enforcement agencies were looking for us. In his ruling the magistrate ordered that my wife and I must be released unconditionally because our arrest was illegal.
“Further, the Magistrate also ruled that whenever they have a case against my wife and I we should appear before Court through summon not arrest. I am also informed that some of my assets in South Africa have been confiscated by authorities to which I say: My right to life is more important than any asset in this world,” said Bushiri.
“Whatever has happened today, I don’t see it as our victory neither our lawyers. God has won.
Tomorrow is better than today!” he added.
Prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary surrendered themselves to police at Area 30 in Lilongwe on Wednesday after getting informed that the police were hunting him.
But Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba ordered the release of the couple who were arrested based on South Africa’s provisional request to detain him pending formal request for extradition.
Nyimba ruled that the arrest was illegal and therefore ordered unconditional release of the couple from police custody.
He also said that his ruling was based on legality of the arrest and “what happened in South Africa is for another day.”
Bushiri and wife Mary were on bail in South Africa where they are being accused of fraud and money laundering but they jumped the bail and fled to Malawi, their native country, a move he described as “a tactical withdrawal meant to preserve lives” while speaking to supporters on social media on Saturday last week.
On arrival last week Bushiri held a press briefing where he disclosed that he fled South Africa to seek the Malawi Government’s intervention over the trial he is facing in South Africa because the police officers who have been entrusted with the job to prosecute him and his wife are crooked and It is alleged that the police officers tried severally to extort money from Bushiri.
He indicated that in 2018 he filed a lawsuit against the said police officers, who are attached to South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) which targets organized crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime referred to it by the President or the South African Police Service.
True to Bushiri’s words, the South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) confirmed on Monday that in 2018, a case of alleged police corruption and cash extortion was opened by Bushiri’s lawyer on his behalf in Sunnyside, Pretoria.
“Mr Bushiri, through his lawyer reported the alleged police corruption to IPID, as part of the investigation process, IPID required Bushiri to provide crucial information about the allegations and to acquire witness statements but Mr Bushiri’s non availability due to his busy schedule has been giving IPID Investigators a challenge to proceed with this case.
“As such, his poor co-operation, busy schedule and non availability has stalled the investigation process as crucial information required to proceed with the investigation process is not forthcoming from him as the victim in this matter. Mr Bushiri has been provided with feedback on the matter, he is well aware that the Investigator will proceed with his case as soon as he co-operates fully with investigation process,” read the statement by IPD.
South Africa reaction to Prophet Bushiri’s ‘miracle’ escape
Immediately after learning the escape of the self-proclaimed prophet known for his “miracles” and wildly extravagant lifestyle, the South Africa government issued an arrest warrant forcing the Malawi government to arrest the prophet and his wife.
“A warrant of arrest has been issued this morning by the Pretoria magistrates court for the two fugitives,” Katlego Mogale, acting spokeswoman for the elite police unit known as the Hawks, said in a statement on Monday.
The couple’s bail is also cancelled and they will each forfeit the 200,000 rand ($13,000) they had individually posted as one of the bail conditions.
South Africa also initiated a process to extradite them from Malawi to the rainbow country where they face charges of fraud and money laundering.
Seize of property
The South African Government has also seized property valued at R5.5 million owned by Shepherd Bushiri and Mary Bushiri for violating their bail conditions by escaping to Malawi.
The couple, who are being accused of money laundering and fraud, were granted bail on 4 November by Pretoria Magistrates Court and they were told not to leave South Africa before the conclusion of their case, which Crime Investigators say it involves R102 million ($6.6 million).
And on Thursday, Magistrate Thandi Thelefu, who asked for the couple to be called three times at their hearing, ruled that their property be forfeited to the state for failing to appear before the court.
According to Theledi, the property has been seized because it was tied to their bail to the state.
Bushiri’s legal team in South Africa said they were not informed of the couple’s movements and they knew about the decision through the media.
Shepherd Bushiri, born 20 February 1983 also known as Major 1 or Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, is a Malawian Christian preacher, motivational speaker, author and businessman from Malawi.
He founded and leads a Christian non-denominational evangelical church known as the Enlightened Christian Gathering. The church has headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa with branches in other African countries and around the world.
Tens of thousands of people are attracted to the church every day. He describes the church as a Prophetic Ministry based on the principle that “God cares and loves people and wants to speak directly to them.”
Bushiri also runs a global investment company, Shepherd Bushiri Investments, based in Sandton near Johannesburg, with interests in mining, real estate, an airline and other entrepreneurial enterprises. According to Bushiri, he ventured into business to support his family as he does not believe the church must support his family.
Shepherd Bushiri is now known as one of the wealthiest pastors in the world and one of the most affluent people in Africa