17 Nov 2020
Africa’s wealthiest preacher spirited himself back home to Malawi while facing a string of fraud and money laundering charges in South Africa.
The authorities only realised that Shepherd Bushiri, 37, had left the country when he issued a statement declaring he had made “a tactical withdrawal” after crossing at least two international borders.
Earlier this month, he and his wife Mary, 39, surrendered their passports in return for bail over an alleged £5 million investment fraud linked to his Enlightened Christian Gathering chain of churches.
President Chakwera of Malawi has denied giving the couple a lift home on his jet after talks with President Ramaphosa of South Africa. The incident is an embarrassment to the South African authorities who are struggling to fathom how the priest, who once claimed to have taken a selfie with God, could flout strict bail terms.
“Bushiri’s escape brings into question the security and safety of our nation, given how easily border management systems can be manipulated by corruption and bribery,” the opposition Democratic Alliance party said.
The preacher has amassed a £120 million fortune from his churches. He has won followers in America and Asia, packing stadiums for sermons.
By Jane Flanagan, The Times, 17 November 2020
Read more at The Times
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