'We were persecuted, not prosecuted': Claims embattled pastor Bushiri

Self-proclaimed prophet announces his escape from SA and arrival in Malawi via Facebook

14 November 2020 - 12:57
Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary who, after being granted R200,000 bail by the Pretoria magistrate's court in their money laundering and fraud case, have allegedly fled to their home country Malawi. Their bail conditions prevented them from leaving SA.
Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary who, after being granted R200,000 bail by the Pretoria magistrate's court in their money laundering and fraud case, have allegedly fled to their home country Malawi. Their bail conditions prevented them from leaving SA.
Image: Facebook/Prophet Shepherd Bushiri

Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri's alleged escape to Malawi was driven by his “persecution” by SA authorities.

Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, who are facing charges of money laundering, fraud and theft in connection with an investment scheme, were out on R200,000 bail when they allegedly skipped the country.

Strict bail conditions set by the Pretoria magistrate's court two weeks ago saw Bushiri having to surrender his passports, including his Malawian diplomatic passport, and only being allowed to travel in Gauteng and North West.

In a Facebook post on Saturday announcing their arrival in Malawi, Bushiri said he would hold a press briefing in Lilongwe, Malawi, about his “persecution”.

“It will be aired on all media networks across the world soon.”

In his post he said threats to his and his wife’s lives had made them return to their home country.

“I would like to inform the general public that my wife, Mary, and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security issues since 2015, matters that got worse when we just got out on bail. There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection. Our coming to Malawi, hence, is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa solely meant to preserve our lives.”

He said with their recent arrest and detention “we felt the only way for us to clear our names before the law is to ensure that our lives are preserved”.

“My wife and I strongly believe in our innocence but this cannot be proved if our lives are not preserved. We have to be alive to testify to our innocence.

“As we stand here, we were arrested in 2019 on allegedly money laundering charges and it’s getting to two years now without trial because the state is not ready to give it {sic].

“As we keep waiting for that trial to come, we were arrested again, kept in custody for over two weeks and we are not sure if we will face trial. Equally shocking is the fact that as we kept waiting to get the facts of the recent arrest, the state brought up immigration issues that they, not us, owe the public an explanation. But they want us to explain. [sic]”

Bushiri said they had “come to a painful conclusion that what my wife and I have faced in the RSA, since 2015, is purely persecution NOT prosecution.

“What is shocking is that it was me who, in 2018, opened cases of extortion and intimidation against the officers who are, today, investigating, arresting and prosecuting me and my wife of these several allegations.

“Obviously, there can never be independence and impartiality. It’s purely acts of open vengeance. This, I must say, clearly violates rules of natural justice which says justice must not just be done but be seen to be done.

“As such, I want to make it clear, here, that our coming to Malawi is not an act of running away from being tried. Not at all. All my wife and I want is to clear our names in a justice system that is fair, impartial and just.”

He said they were demanding the SA government assure their safety while in the country, that their bail would not be revoked, they would be granted the right to a fair trial, the investigating officers in their case be removed and arrested with a new investigation and prosecution team appointed.

“I am requesting Malawi government to liaise with the SA government to ensure that these issues are met.

“Once these issues are met, and I am assured of a fair, just and impartial trial, I am willing to avail myself before the SA justice system.

“I am looking forward to that day because my wife and I have long waited for it to prove our innocence and clear our names.”


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