Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, on Saturday said they had fled the country for Malawi, defying their strict bail conditions.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) leader and his wife were arrested in October for fraud, theft, and money laundering to the value of over R100 million, along with their three co-accused.
The couple was released on bail of R200,000 each more than a week ago by the Pretoria Magistrates Court.
Bushiri confirmed on Facebook that he and his wife had fled to his home country of Malawi after fearing for their safety. The Hawks also confirmed that they did not report to their nearest police station on Friday as required in their bail conditions.
Bushiri has made five demands to the South African government, which include the recusal of those involved in their trial from investigators to prosecutors. He requested the government of Malawi to liaise with the South African government to ensure that their demands are met.
“Once these five issues are met and I am assured of a fair, just and impartial trial, I am willing to avail myself before the South Africa justice system,” Bushiri said in his Facebook post.
These are Bushiri’s demands to the SA government:
- The South African government should assure the couple of their safety and security if they return to the country.
- Government should assure them that their bail would not be revoked, despite defying their bail conditions.
“Our right to fair trial entails that we have access to our lawyers all the time. Revocation of the bail defeats our right to a fair trial and also exposes us to further security and safety challenges,” Bushiri said.
- The police officers involved in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting the Bushiris should recuse themselves.
“This is the same team that I earlier lodged a complaint against and, also, opened cases against. I won’t have a fair trial with their continued involvement,” the self-proclaimed prophet stated.
- The South African government should ensure all complaints lodged and opened against the officers are investigated before proceeding with the case against them.
- The South African government should appoint “independent and professional investigators, and prosecutors who should make independent decisions on the cases we are allegedly accused of.”
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