Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has applied to have his money laundering and fraud charges in South Africa dropped.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader appeared before the Pretoria High Court on Monday this week with his alleged partner-in-crime, Mary Bushiri, where the State applied for a postponement of the trial to next year.
Bushiri opposed the request, saying he is always ready.
“My lawyers were ready to proceed with the trial. We remain ready for the trial” lamented Major 1.
However, the North Gauteng regional spokesperson for the director of public prosecutions, Lumka Mahanjana, told reporters that the case had been “postponed to 16 October 2020 for pre-trial conference”.
The court’s decision infuriated Bushiri who described it as “unfair” immediately after leaving the court room along side his wife and alleged partner in crime, Mary Bushiri.
“We are disappointed that the Judge has granted a postponement for the State to get their house in order… I feel this is unfair”, he said on Monday.
Malawi24 understands that the State wanted the case to be shifted to next year, citing the threat posed by Covid-19 which forced witnesses not to show up for the trial. However, Bushiri opposed the request saying it was a baseless excuse by the prosecutors.
But today Bushiri announced that he is appealing against the decision. Major 1 as he is affectionately called by his followers is also asking the courts to have the case discontinued and all his charges dropped indefinitely.
“My Lawyers asked for the case to be struck from the roll and the State asked for the case to be postponed for a year. But the Judge postponed the case to October for Pre-Trial when Covid-19 will be at its peak. No one asked for a pre-trial. I have instructed my lawyers to appeal and they have filed the appeal today” said Bushiri in a post that he shared on his official Facebook page.
The courts is yet to set the date for the hearing of the appeal.
Bushiri was arrested together with his wife on 1 February last year on money laundering and fraud charges involving more than R15 million (over K670 million).
The couple also faces accusations of contravening South Africa’s exchange control regulations for paying about R19 million (K850 million) for his private jet which was seized by the state soon after the couple’s arrest.