It sounds like Shepherd Bushiri has such powers that even when he enters through the borders of South Africa with a flagged passport no law enforcement official can detect it even when scanned multiple times. Sounds odd right? Better believe it as the Enlightened Christian Church owner has visited South Africa multiple times in recent months.
According to a report in the City Press on Sunday, Bushiri had been in South Africa three times since he fled to Malawi with his wife Mary in November after they were granted bail. The Bushiris were each released on R200 000 bail by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on November 4 after their arrest in October. On Sunday afternoon, Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalase said that “It is common cause that he is currently in his country of birth.”
The City Press further reported that South Africa’s security agencies were investigating claims that Bushiri had been in the country on three different occasions. With the most recent visit being just two months ago, the authorities are trying to establish how the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church got through tight security cordon that was set up to apprehend him.
In their statement on Sunday, the Hawks said: “We, therefore, appeal to anyone with credible evidence that supports these speculations that are doing the rounds to come forward with that information to the police.”
The Hawks said they are on record for arresting Bushiri and taking him to court to answer for the charges against him.
“He was granted bail and did not comply with the conditions of bail to appear on a specified date. A warrant of arrest was then granted which requires us to execute.”
The Bushiris are wanted in South Africa on fraud and money laundering charges relating to an investment scheme to the tune of R100 million. In November, the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leaders fled to Malawi.
As part of their bail conditions, they had been restricted to travel only within Gauteng and North West until the case was finalised. They handed themselves to the police in Malawi after a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol.
On June 8, the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court in Malawi dismissed a State application for South Africa-based witnesses to testify virtually in their extradition hearing. Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the border movement control system would have been able to detect Bushiri if he came through the border using any of the five passports that were known about. He said his department was never briefed on Bushiri’s alleged activities in April.
“We have tagged all the passports and whenever he would enter any port, it would be flagged by the system. Whether he uses an airport or seaport, as soon as the passport is scanned, it would send out an alert of a wanted person,” Motsoaledi said.