JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri has handed himself over to police in Malawi as the Hawks in South Africa issued a second warrant for his arrest.
He had indicated in a statement he would be doing so, but the SABC News on Wednesday reported the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader and his wife Mary, had handed themselves over to police.
The Bushiris fled South Africa last week while facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100 million investment scheme.
They had been released on R200 000 bail earlier this month, but last week, the couple fled to their home country of Malawi. They confirmed their escape on Facebook on Saturday morning.
On Monday, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court granted the Hawks a warrant of arrest for the Bushiris.
On Wednesday, the Hawks said the North Gauteng High Court has issued warrants for the arrest of the Bushiris who also faced charges of fraud and money-laundering.
“At the time of their disappearance, Mr and Ms Bushiri had posted bail of R200 000 each and were required to regularly present themselves to authorities as part of complying with their bail conditions.
“They were due to report in court in January 2021.
“During today’s court proceedings, the matter was postponed to 7 December 2020 for the formal withdrawal of bail and forfeiture of the bail deposit,” said Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale.
“South Africa has initiated legal proceedings to secure the extradition of the fugitives,” she said.
Writing on his Facebook account on Wednesday, Bushiri confirmed he and his wife had five passports, but these had all been handed to authorities in South Africa.
Bushiri said he was not confident he would get a fair trial in South Africa.
“The minister further went on to state that our permanent residence permits are irregular and therefore our stay in South Africa is unlawful because my wife and I misrepresented facts to induce his department to issue the permits and his department issued incorrect permits to us due to their oversight.
“Therefore, his department has decided to revoke our permits.
“This is but one of the many injustices that I feared would befall me and my wife.
“This internal process is already prejudged by the minister before I submit my representations on why our permits should not be revoked because we did nothing wrong,” said Bushiri.
Bushiri said he had fled to Malawi not for political intervention for his troubles with South African authorities, but to seek justice in the constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
“I have a strong belief in the constitution of Malawi because it protects every citizen including my wife and I.
“Because of that, I will be presenting myself before law enforcement agencies this morning to legally explain and defend the decisions that I made to come to Malawi.
“I am innocent until proven guilty. As of now, there is no court in the world that has proven me guilty. I may be subjected by media and public trial but I maintain my innocence until proven guilty.
“It is unfortunate, therefore, to have the minister of home affairs in South Africa to intentionally and unfairly mislead the people of South Africa and the whole world in this regard. I cannot have a fair trial in South Africa,” said Bushiri.