Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Bail Application Postponed Once Again to Monday, 02 November 2020,

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and Lindiwe Ntlokwane during happier times.

The bail application by Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his co-accused continued on Friday 30 October 2020 in the Pretoria Magistrates’ court. The application could, however, not be finalised and it was postponed to Monday, 02 November 2020 for further arguments by the State. Accused obtained the services of a new legal representative before the start of the proceedings on Friday.

The State is strenuously opposing the bail application and at first objected to the legal representatives for accused 4 to 6 as there may possibly be a conflict of interest as the legal representatives were involved in another investment scheme at the branch of the church in Phalaborwa. The legal representatives said that they are satisfied that there is no conflict of interest and that the two cases are not related and that they may proceed to represent the accused. The State submitted a lengthy affidavit by the Hawks in which they raise several grounds for opposing bail amongst others, that:

Shepherd Bushiri and Mary Bushiri in the Pretoria Court.
  • the accused will interfere with state witnesses, should they be released on bail. The State pointed out that in the past, in other cases against him, prophet Bushiri had influenced witnesses to withdraw cases against him, either having been intimidated or paid, to withdraw, in some cases up to R500 000.00.
  • the accused are likely to avoid standing trial as the charges against them are of a serious nature and the State has a strong case against them and that accused no 1, Willah Modolo, one of their co-accused had already attempted three times to escape from South Africa when he was apprehended at OR Tambo International Airport on 17 October 2020. He did not have a return ticket when he was arrested.
  • the accused have said in affidavits that they live with their two minor children at their home in Johannesburg. It turned out that the two minor children reside and are attending school in Malawi, and only visit South Africa occasionally.
  • Accused no 1, Willah Modolo, has Property in the United Kingdom, which is currently listed for sale for 1,9 million pounds and has other fixed property in South Africa and in Zambia.
  • Accused no 4 has several hotel properties in South Africa and elsewhere in the world,
  • They own several luxury vehicles including a Maserati, Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, BMW’s etc, some of which were illegally exported to Malawi, but none of the vehicles are registered in the names of accused 4, but are rather registered in the names of Prophetic Channel,
  • There are high court judgments in which accused 4 and 5 were ordered to pay huge amounts of money to certain creditors.
  • Accused 4 bought an private aeroplane under fraudulent circumstances,
  • Accused 5 holds offshore bank accounts in Dubai,
  • There is a likelihood that if the accused are convicted, that they will be given lengthy jail sentences and this may provide an incentive for them to evade trial,
ECG Members outside Court in Pretoria.

The defence was adamant that the State has got no valid grounds for denying the accused bail and that the two minor children of accused 4 and 5 are currently in South Africa and were with their mother at the time of her arrest and that Prophet Bushiri has got family ties binding him to South Africa. That the State was in possession of the same facts when the accused were granted bail in a previous case and the State did not object to the release on bail then. It is not clear who was defrauded in the case as the State does not mention that. The money laundering case has got no foundation. It will be in the interest of justice if the accused are released on bail. Subsequent to their release on bail previously, the accused attended court regularly without fail. Why would they now suddenly decide to evade their trial.

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Large crowds of members of ECG Church filled the streets around the court house praying and singing songs in support of their leader alleging that the case against Major 1, as he is popularly known, are a mere fabrication and a campaign to discredit him. They vowed not to leave the streets until Major 1 has been released on bail. The State on the other hand alleges that ECG is a non-profit organisation and that it was not supposed to be taking investments from its members and that accused 4, who is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, operated under Shepherd Bushiri Investments and created Forex trading platforms and promised members that they will never lose their monies and that they will make millions while they sit back and enjoy coffee.

Supporters of Prophet Bushiri outside court in Pretoria.

The Court has indicated that it may not be possible for the Court to give judgment on the bail application on 02 November 2020. So it is unlikely that the accused will know their fate regarding their bail application soon. They were, therefor, all remanded in custody.

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