South Africa-Religion-Court

S/Africa: Church leaders denied bail in fraud case

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

Popular evangelists Shepherd and Mary Bushiri on Friday failed to secure their freedom after their bail application was turned down by a South African court after the state requested more time to complete investigations.

The couple were arrested on Tuesday and appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate Court on Wednesday to seek bail but were denied it after being slapped with fraud, theft, and money laundering charges involving US$6 million.  

During Friday’s appearance, the Bushiris’ followers congregated outside the Pretoria Magistrate Court in large numbers, blocking streets hours before the arrival of their “prophet”, who is also known as Major One. 

Unfortunately, the couple were denied bail once again till Monday when they return to court to present a new bail application. 

The couple, who oversee the popular Enlighted Christian Congregation (ECG) Church based in Pretoria, were on bail for similar charges since last year at the time of their arrests.

Bushiri’s church spokesperson Terrence Baloyi said the ECG believe the state and police were prejudiced against their pastor.

“We can assure you the prophet and prophetess are innocent. This is nothing but a personal vendetta by the police” against the Bushiris, Baloyi said.

He said there was no reason for the state to continue holding them on remand when they have been on bail for similar charges since last year.

The Malawi-born preachers, classified as multi-millionaires, have worldwide religious and farming interests operating from their permanent base in South Africa under the ECG umbrella. 

NM/jn/APA

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