A Joburg man has had to fight tooth and nail to recover money he invested in a “forex” scheme established by the self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
The steward at Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) involved lawyers in his year-long fight to reclaim his money, plus the promised compounded interest, earlier last month.
He was finally paid the R100 000 he invested in the scheme called the Stewardship Wealth Creation Project, plus some significant interest, on Tuesday after The Star enquired about the man's ordeal.
The congregant, who asked to remain anonymous, was expecting his money to grow to R597 000.
Bushiri introduced it as a project meant to financially empower stewards of ECG, the man recalled. Congregants were told ECG would invest the money in forex trades in China.
“Many of us invested in this. Some invested R1000, others put in R20 000. I invested R100 000,” said the man.
Investors were promised their returns would flow in from September last year to February this year. With that not happening, they were then apparently told the project had collapsed.
Hours after The Star had called apostle Innocent Nkomo, ECG's deputy director on Tuesday, the complainant confirmed receiving his money.
Nkomo would not take questions, only saying the matter had been put to rest.
“That issue has been resolved. Just check with the people who complained. But I'm sure all issues have been amicably resolved,” he said and then dropped the phone.
Mashego Attorneys Inc. had served Bushiri a final letter of demand prior to the payment.
“We must hasten to say (our client) was not a Christian before and became such at ECG and has been a staunch follower and believer since.
“He is unable to attend church nor execute his duties as a family man now as he has become destitute,” the letter added.
“He fully believes the Church can address his problems not as a beggar, but due to entitlement to his money and proceeds thereof as per the undertaking of the prophet to guarantee the Stewardship Wealth Creation.”
Vusumuzi Sibanda, a lawyer at Mashego Attorneys, said Bushiri's failure to repay investors their money plus interest constituted breach of contract.
The African Diaspora Forum has taken an interest in the matter, saying such developments gave immigrants a bad name.
– The Star