One of South Africa’s most popular evangelists, Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, return to court on Friday for a bail hearing to regain their freedom since their arrests two days ago on multi-million-dollar money laundering charges.
The couple, who have been on bail for similar charges since last year, are accused of fraud, theft and money-laundering involving US$6.0 million which the police have yet to explain in details of the alleged criminal activities.
The glamourous couple, who oversee the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church in Pretoria, are remanded in custody at the city’s Kgosi Mampuru Prison until magistrate Thandi Theledi rules on bail at the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Friday.
Depending on her ruling, the formal bail application for the couple would be heard or be postponed to another date, the police said.
Bushiri’s church spokesperson Terrence Baloyi said the ECG Church believes the state and police were prejudiced against their pastor.
“We can assure you the prophet and prophetess are innocent. The intention is clearly not to seek justice.
“The intention is clearly not to make sure that justice prevails at the end of the day. I can assure you, we feel this is nothing but a personal vendetta by the police,” Baloyi said.
He said there was no reason for the state to hold them on remand when they have been on bail for similar charges since last year.
The Malawi-born preacher, who is classified as a multi-millionaire, has worldwide religious and farming interests operating from his permanent base in South Africa under the ECG umbrella.