Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Prophet Shepherd Bushiri says he is neither shocked nor surprised with media reported warrants of arrest because they are just part of the larger crusade to try and persecute his name in the media by a team of same white police officers notably from the Hawks.
South Africa media is reporting that South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority has issued three warrants of arrest against Bushiri for rape. The recent warrants against Bushiri state that he had allegedly raped three women who were members of his church, charges he has denied claiming this was just part of a larger crusade to try and persecute him.
In a statement, Bushiri wondered why the arrest was issued in the media when it is trite law that when a warrant of arrest is issued, law enforcement agencies proceed to effect the arrest; not leaking information to the media as his case has always been with “these white police officers”.
“These are white police officers that I opened extortion and corruption cases against in 2018 after they tried, unsuccessfully, to extort about R10 million from me. At the time, they were not diffident and on record saying that “failure to pay the R10million would result in making my life a living hell,” he said.
He added despite having confirmed that such cases were opened, South African Authorities haven’t taken any relevant steps to bring to book these white police officers.
“Instead, these officers are let loose, riding on the back state resources, and embarked on a crusade to cover up their crimes by launching and issuing numerous warrants of arrests against me.
For the record I reiterate and confirm that the very same white police officers are same police officers who arrested me in Feb 2019. As though is not enough, they are again same white police officers who arrested me in October 2020, and, again, without any official confirmation I bet it’s the same police officers behind these warrants of arrest.
I have been advised–which advice I accept–that rape cases are not handled by hawks but South African Police (SAPS) designated unit known as Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS).
I have since launched complaints on how Hawks or same white police officers were recruiting girls to fabricate charges of rape and to date no reprieve for me. Some of these were confirmed through various videos of those who came back to confess such wrongful conduct,” he said.
He added that during his public address on Saturday, 21 Nov 2020, he pertinently and persistently stated that as long as these officers are not recused, there is no way he can receive fair trial in South Africa, simply because those white officers are surely and evidently so driven by vengeance, not justice.
“That is why these fresh warrants of arrest are neither a shock nor a surprise to me but mere confirmation of every detail I shared with regard to spates of injustice I left in South Africa.
But above all, as a revered man of God, a husband and father who understands that rape “is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I stand and believe in.
As Keen as I am to clear my name in SA, I unequivocally refuse to feed the media spectacle created by white police officers bent to cover up their crimes. My conscious is very clear and so it shall remain.”
The Bushiris were first arrested in connection with fraud allegations in February 2019 by South Africa’s elite crime-fighting unit, the Hawks.
Just under two weeks ago, the self-proclaimed prophet and his wife Mary, fled South Africa in violation of their bail conditions claiming that their lives were in danger.
After skipping bail, Bushiri posted a statement on Twitter saying that he and his wife fled after years of threats to their lives. He said that his requests for state protection had gone ignored and that the case against him was “persecution NOT prosecution.” “Our coming to Malawi, hence, is a tactical withdrawal from the Republic of South Africa solely meant to preserve our lives,” the statement read.
South African authorities, however, say this was done to avoid facing fraud, money laundering and theft charges.
Their escape has set off a power struggle between the governments of South Africa and Malawi which is now facing political pressure to turn him in.
In South Africa, it has authorities scrambling to explain how such a high-profile figure was able to abscond, exposing serious lapses in their ability to monitor the country’s borders. Earlier, the South African Parliament grilled Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi about the lapses or, as one suggested, the complicity that had allowed the controversial cleric to flee, saying the blunder exposed flaws in South Africa’s national security.
In Malawi, the Bushiris were arrested before they were unconditionally released by a Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate, who said their arrest was illegal.
It is still unclear whether Malawi would hand over the Bushiris.
Meanwhile, the justice department in South Africa says it plans to serve an extradition letter on Malawi within the next two weeks.
With additional reporting from Nyasa Times & AllAfrica
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