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:
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.
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.