Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and His Wife Mary Denied Bail.

Major 1

The Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria turned down an application by the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) on Wednesday, 21 October 2020, to be released on bail following his arrest and detention by the Hawks on Tuesday 20 October 2020. Prophet Bushiri was arrested together with his wife, Mary, and others, on allegations of fraud and money laundering. Prophet Bushiri has denied the allegations against him. The State is opposing the release of the accused on bail and the matter has been postponed to Friday, 23 October 2020 for a further bail hearing. In court, a dispute arose between the State and the defence regarding the permanent residence permits issued by the Department of Home Affairs to Prophet Bushiri and his wife Mary, the State alleging that the permits had been withdrawn by Home Affairs on the grounds that they were issued in error. Prophet Bushiri is challenging the withdrawal of the permits in the High Court. The defence argued that it appears that the Hawks rushed in to effect an arrest before they had completed their investigations.

The Hawks.

A large number of supporters of Major 1, as he is popularly known, gathered outside the court to show their support and solidarity with their leader. Most had traveled long distances to be at court on time. They said that Major 1 had done nothing wrong and that they will stand by him all the way. When the matter was postponed, Major 1 was visibly disappointed that they could not be granted bail and at the prospect of spending two more nights in police custody. ECG Spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo said that they are obviously disappointed that the State has decided to oppose bail and that they hoped that the court will grant bail on Friday, 23 October 2020.

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The arrest of Major 1 relates to an investment scheme amounting to about 100 million rands through a company known as Rising Estate of which Mr and Mrs Willah and Zethu Mudolo are directors. They wre also arrested at OR Tambo International Airport by the Hawks on Saturday 17 October 2020,. They appeared in Court on Monday 19 October 2020 and their matter was postponed to 30 October 2020 for a formal bail hearing.

Prophet Bushiri and his wife are due to appear in Court on 31 May 2021 for trial in another pending matter.

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