Bushiri money laundering case brought forward owing to 'security matters': NPA
Controversial pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary will not be appearing in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.
While their court case had been postponed to May 10 following a previous court appearance in February, the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that they had, in fact, appeared at an earlier date.
The Bushiris appeared in court on Tuesday, and their case was postponed to August 29.
The date, the NPA said, had been brought forward to prevent a repeat of the pandemonium that played out during their February appearance.
"The matter was brought to court on an earlier date after a request from the defence," said NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane. "The NPA had to consider security matters and therefore agreed to an earlier date."
In February, members of Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECGC) had flocked to the streets of Pretoria following the arrest of their leader earlier this year, whom they referred to as Major 1.
Carrying placards, holy water and posters of the prophet, Bushiri’s flock had got down on their knees and prayed for his and his wife’s release, labelling their arrest an attack from the "enemy".
The couple was eventually released on bail of R100,000 each.
The Bushiri’s, who head a multi-thousand member church as well as several businesses locally and abroad, had been arrested for alleged money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Prevention of the Organised Crime Act (POCA).
The crimes were allegedly committed from 2015 and involve an amount of more than R15.3m.