It never rains but pours for Prophet Shepherd Bushiri in South Africa where the Department of Home Affairs says the couple’s permanent resident permits are fraudulent.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church founder who prophesied that 2020 would be “a great year” and is already fighting two separate charges of fraud and money laundering is now racing against time to fend off these new immigration-rated fraud allegations.
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri was first arrested in South Africa on 1 February 2019. He was nabbed together with his wife for fraud and money laundering relating to foreign currency of $1,147,200 (about K860 million) as well as the contravention of South Africa’s Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
The couple had appeared in a pre-trial conference on Friday last week where the case was scheduled to be heard for trial in the Pretoria High Court on 31 May next year.
The controversial prophet was then arrested this week on Tuesday together with his wife Prophetess Mary Bushiri for fraud and money laundering of about K5 billion (R102 million) over an investment scheme called Rising Estate.
Their bail application at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court was postponed on Friday this week to Monday, 26 October 2020. The couple remains in custody.
Major 1 and his wife were on bail before their arrest last week.
Meanwhile, the South African Department of Home Affairs is investigating the couple of immigration fraud after noting serious discrepancies in the manner in which they obtained their permanent resident permits.
The department had given Bushiri and his wife only 30 days to produce documents of how they obtained their permits.
According to published media reports, Home Affairs Minister stated that when prophet Shepherd Bushiri applied for permanent resident he made declaration under oath that he entered the country in 2015 for the first time. But their records proves that he first entered the country in 2009.
“Bushiri and his wife entered South Africa for the first time on 6 September 2009. They were issued visitors visas. While he (Bushiri) was here in 2014, 2015 and 2016, he registered companies with the CIPC and started conducting businesses. Which is not allowed in terms of the visitors visa and immigration law. That is a chargeable offence”, said Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.
“In 2012, Mary Bushiri, the wife, entered South Africa through the OR Tambo International Airport. She then produced a permanent residents visa, not a visitor’s visa, a permanent residents visa, which was, according to what she produced, given to her on 1 February 1997. It was fraudulent”, he said.
The home affairs claims that the couple committed fraud in order to be permanent residents in this country.
The Home Affairs department has confirmed that two senior officials who were involved in serving religious leader Shepherd Bushiri with notices from the department have been suspended. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403 pic.twitter.com/OjQlPm7V54
— eNCA (@eNCA) October 25, 2020
While the high Court in Pretoria has suspended the decision to withdraw the couple’s permanent resident status, Motsoaledi says the department will continue to investigate the matter.
Prophet Bushiri has so far been in the courts both in his home country Malawi and in his business base country South Africa for rape allegations and child support from his alleged baby mother.
Bushiri, who claims he can walk on air and that he can even cure people of HIV, was recently accused of swindling church members through various investments schemes.
He once served as President of African Christian Coalition for Israel Ltd (AFRICCI) a few months after the company’s alleged creation. During his tenure, he openly challenged the Malawi government and the private sector to submit project proposals to the company for possible funding.