Controversial church leader, Shepherd Bushiri, deliberately omitted safety concerns during his bail application because it “wasn’t a wise move”. That's according to his South African lawyer, Terrence Baloyi.
“Look, me and you would agree that the priority concern was to have him released on bail and not to bring the extortion issues and bring the being threatened issues. And you would also know that should I bring that it would be adding to the state that therefore it is not safe outside. I don’t think that would have been a wise move to bring that and besides, that wasn’t really going to help our case," Baloyi told Newsnote.
Over the weekend after fleeing the country, the questionable prophet took to his social media platform to decry the South African justice system. He said he opened a case of extortion against police who are investigating him in 2018, something his lawyer now says is genesis of the safety concerns.
But Bushiri in his affidavit read in court during his bail application, said his safety would not be compromised should he be released on bail.
“I respectively submit that should I be released on bail, my release will not induce a sense of shock or outrage and will not disturb the public order or undermine the public peace or security. I further submit that my safety will not be jeopardized by my release on bail,” said Bushiri during his bail application
The Bushiris are charged with theft, fraud and money laundering of R102-million. They allegedly defrauded members of their Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church.
The Bushiris didn’t pitch at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday where they were expected to appear. This because they're still in their home country, Malawi.
Baloyi said government must meet the Bushiri couple’s demands before they could appear before court as required. Their co-accused would continue their bail bid on 3 December 2020.
“If the extradition process are completed, alternatively when all our demands are met, I am sure they will be here," said Baloyi.
The Bushiris want the South African government to assure them of their safety and security, demand that their bail should not be revoked and want investigating officers on their case to recuse themselves.
The couple was released on bail by a court in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, on Thursday.
Their trial in South Africa is set for 31 May to 18 June next year. The process to extradite them back is currently underway.