Prophet Shepherd Bushiri who is fighting two separate charges of fraud, theft and money laundering of about K5.8 billion in South Africa has been nicknamed Chisale after former Malawi President Peter Mutharika personal bodyguard, Norman Chisale.
Norman Chisale faces a myriad of charges in Malawi that include fraud, money laundering, impersonation, attempted murder and murder.
Chisale’s fraud and money laundering charges relate to the importation of 1.2 million bags of cement from Zambia and Zimbabwe worth K5 billion using former president Peter Mutharika’s T-PIN for presidential duty-free privileges.
Mutharika’s security aide is co-accused with controversial business person Mohammed Shafee Ahmed Chunara for his alleged involvement in the importation.
Chisale’s arrest opened a tirade of arrests on separate charges that immediately followed each time he was being released on bail on one case.
At one point, he wailed: “Inenso ndi munthutu, ndimamva zikhomo [I am a human being, I also feel hurt]” as the State attempted to block his bail application.
Like Chisale, the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader affectionately called Major 1 by his followers has been fighting bail since his second arrest last week on 20 October 2020.
It is said Bushiri used Rising Estate as conduit for fraud and money laundering of about K5 billion (R102 million)
He was arrested together with his wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri and three other co-accused that include a couple Willah Joseph Mudolo and his wife Zethu Mudolo who are Co-Directors of Rising Estate.
The other co-accused is Landiwe Ntlokwana.
Yesterday, the Magistrate presiding over their bail application rolled over the hearing to Friday this week because one of the co-accused, Willah Joseph Mudolo, said he was not ready to submit his bail application statement.
Bushiri and wife remain in custody at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre.
Major entrance: Controversial Prophet Shepherd Bushiri together with his alleged partners-in-crime, wife Prophetess Mary Bushiri and Landiwe Ntlokwana, entering the courtroom for their bail application hearing pic.twitter.com/D4XYzJ50YO
— Malawi24 (@Malawi24) October 26, 2020
#Bushiri the accused seems to be using their children as a foundation of their bail application. Bushiris said their daughters are too young to be separated from their parents while their co-accused, Mudolo, says she's breastfeeding a 9-month old baby
— Malawi24 (@Malawi24) October 26, 2020
Bushiri was first arrested in February last year on a different charge of fraud and money laundering of about of $1,147,200 (about K860 million).
Like Chisale, a tirade of misfortunes appear to be shadowing the Malawian born prophet who has previously faced rape allegations as the South African Department of Home Affairs has been investigating him and his wife for immigration fraud.
The department revealed that there are serious discrepancies in the manner in which the ECG first couple obtained its permanent resident permits in South Africa.
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 the department’s 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.
He has on several occasions called on his followers to invest in a business scheme with promises of double retains. But some of his congregants who invested in these schemes accused Bushiri of scamming them, saying the prophet run away with the money without giving the so called investors a single coin, allegations Major 1 claimed to be unfounded.
Chisale is now on bail following the Malawi Supreme Court intervention. The State in Malawi had opposed his bail application.
In South Africa, the State is opposing Bushiri’s bail application.