Controversial church leader Shepherd Bushiri arrested
Shepherd Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, has been arrested.
The church’s External Relations Manager, Maynard Manyowa posted a statement on Bushiri’s official Facebook account informing congregants of the arrest.
According to the post, Bushiri and his wife Mary were arrested at a hotel in Rustenburg this morning.
The Hawks confirmed the arrest, stating the following in a press statement:
"The Hawks’ case against the pair, concerns alleged offences of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. (POCA), committed from 2015, in relation to Exchange Control Regulations related to foreign currency in an amount of 1 147 200 USD.
The couple who run several business enterprises in South Africa and abroad are expected to appear before the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court on Monday."
Last year Sowetan’s sister paper, Sunday World, reported that the police's elite crime-fighting unit, the Hawks, was investigating charismatic prophet Shepherd Bushiri for money laundering after members of the church leadership claimed he was sending an estimated R15-million a month to Malawi, his country of birth.
The money was allegedly transported out of South Africa in Bushiri's private jet and other vehicles.
This week Bushiri appeared before the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (the CRL Rights Commission) to explain the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three women who were killed during a stampede at the church in December 2018.
The commission recommended that the church find a suitable venue to accommodate its congregants following a report by the Tshwane municipality that the church premises did not comply with safety regulations.