'It is suspected that the vehicle was being smuggled across the border under the guise of attending the conference' said the Hawks.
Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri has been left “astonishingly shocked” following reports that a vehicle belonging to him has been intercepted at the Beitbridge border.
According to a statement by Hawks spokesperson, Colonel Katlego Mogale, a man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly being in possession of a suspected stolen vehicle.
“It is reported that a white van with six occupants, three males and three females, arrived at the port of entry and upon it being checked, it was discovered that it belonged to the Enlightened Christian Gathering church founded by the fugitive, Shepherd Bushiri.
“The driver produced an affidavit bearing a signature of one of the church board members, which authorised the driver to drive the vehicle into Zimbabwe en route to Malawi.”
The vehicle is, however, part of the assets attached to a provisional liquidation order against Bushiri and his properties, including assets belonging to his church, according to Mogale.
“It is suspected that the vehicle was being smuggled across the border under the guise of attending the conference.
“It also suspected that the liquidators were not informed about this activity and the driver was arrested as nothing belonging to the Bushiri estate is allowed to be taken from the Republic of South Africa to any other country,” Mogale said.
The man will appear in the Musina Magistrate’s Court soon.
But the church has questioned fairness in the Hawks’ actions, further explaining that Bushiri is the founder and president of the ECG church international, and not a director of ECG South Africa or Prophet Shepherd Bushiri Ministries (PSBM) or any entity related thereon.
According to a statement released by ECG spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo, ECG South Africa is independent from Bushiri and cannot be imputed to him or construed as such.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) were allegedly informed of this, following which they granted permission for the vehicle to cross the border.
“To this effect, an affidavit deposed by the driver and church directors for purposes of compliance in seeking permission was duly sworn at police station before a commissioner of oaths stationed therein. Shockingly, it seems a certain sector of the police who granted permission is hell-bent to destroy and/or defame prophet’s name in that, one authority or to be specific SAPS grants permission, another authority known as Hawks call it crime and therefore denounce such permission.
“Are Hawks saying permission granted by SAPS was arbitrarily granted or granting such permission constituted a crime?
“Is the name, Bushiri, a problem to an extent that certain cluster of authorities cloud [their] own judgment and fail to rationally and reasonably apply their minds,” read a statement from the church.
Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed prophet has announced a new venue for the “miracle night” service set to be held in Malawi on 31 December. This after the Bingu Stadium cancelled the previous approval of the stadium’s use.
Bushiri is currently in Malawi after fleeing South Africa with his wife Mary following their release on bail of R200,000 each last month.
Bushiri, his wife, and others were arrested in October in connection with fraud, money laundering and theft worth more than R102 million.