NATIONAL NEWS - A 46-year-old police brigadier based at the organised crime head office and her 50-year-old husband are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning.
The couple was arrested this morning for alleged corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
According to Colonel Katlego Mogale, they handed themselves to the team of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, tasked with the investigation relating to Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri.
“Their warrants of arrest were authorised yesterday in relation to an amount of R500,000 that was allegedly paid to the brigadier. The investigation started as an inquiry and it was converted into a case docket in February 2020,” said Mogale.
The self-proclaimed prophet is currently in Malawi after fleeing South Africa with his wife following their release on bail of R200,000 each last month, citing security reasons. Bushiri then published a list of demands to be met by the South African government before his return.
Bushiri, his wife, and others were arrested in October in connection with fraud, money laundering and theft worth more than R102 million.
Earlier last month, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said a case of corruption and extortion was opened by Bushiri’s lawyer on his behalf in Sunnyside, Pretoria, in 2018,
This is after Bushiri said in a statement that he and his wife fled the country because of “safety and security issues” since 2015.
It reads in part: “These matters have gotten worse after we both just got our bail. There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection.”
“We have come to a painful conclusion that what my wife and I have faced in the Republic of South Africa, since 2015, is purely persecution, not prosecution.
“What is shocking is that it was me who, in 2018, opened cases of extortion and intimidation against the officers who are, today, investigating, arresting and prosecuting me and my wife of these several allegations.
“Obviously, there can never be independence and impartiality. It’s purely acts of open vengeance. This, I must say, clearly violates rules of natural justice which says justice must not just be done but be seen to be done. As such, I want to make it clear, here, that our coming to Malawi is not an act of running away from being tried. Not at all.”
Bushiri further demanded that the officers involved in his case recuse themselves.
“As earlier said, this is the same team that I earlier lodged complaint against and, also, opened cases against. I won’t have a fair trial with their continued involvement,” he said.
According to Ipid, the police officers investigating several allegations of rape against Bushiri allegedly tried to extort money from him to make his rape charges disappear.
“Mr Bushiri, through his lawyer reported the alleged police corruption to Ipid, as part of the investigation process, Ipid required Bushiri to provide crucial information about the allegations and to acquire witness statements but Mr Bushiri’s non availability due to his busy schedule has been giving Ipid investigators a challenge to proceed with this case.
“As such, his poor cooperation, busy schedule and non-availability has stalled the investigation process as crucial information required to proceed with the investigation process is not forthcoming from him as the victim in this matter,” said Ipid in a statement.
“Mr Bushiri has been provided with feedback on the matter, he is well aware that the investigator will proceed with his case as soon as he cooperates fully with investigation process.”