A software developer this week lodged an ex parte application in the Johannesburg High Court against self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri, claiming that the fugitive pastor failed to pay him after he was recruited to create an online platform for the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church TV channel.
In the court application, which seeks to be heard without the affected parties being served with court documents, Anele Beke is demanding R80 million. He claimed in the papers that he met the ECG representative he identified as Walusungo Mnyengmbe and discussed the feasibility of designing and creating a software-based platform to help the controversial church hold virtual sessions.
“Thereafter, further meetings and discussions were held with Mnyengmbe and various representatives of the first respondent [ECG]. I thereafter designed and created the platform and system, and subsequently presented it to the ECG representatives,” reads Beke’s affidavit.
“The representative contacted the second respondent [Shepherd Huxley Bushiri] in order to convey what they had seen and further obtain his approval so as to proceed with the project.”
According to his affidavit, a series of meetings were held and he was then instructed to order 100 000 set-top boxes to initiate the project.
“Subsequent meetings and brainstorming sessions were held in terms of which the design and operational function of the platform were discussed.
“Bushiri approved the project, and I was mandated to commence with the first phase of the prototypes. Mnyengmbe and myself continued communications with the view of finalising the software and platform. The second phase of installing the prototypes was finalised and the systems were ready to be utilised,” reads his affidavit.
It further states:
During this period, I had made numerous financial and operational arrangements and entered into agreements with various service providers, all with the aim of executing my responsibilities to finalise the software and platform for the respondents.
He claimed in the papers that a written agreement was concluded with Bushiri on March 17 2018 and started with the set-up of the IPTV platform for the Prophetic Channel, and later licensed it and managed its content.
“In accordance with the agreement, the respondents were liable to pay a once-off fee for the set-up of the Prophetic Channel platform on our headed servers, and we shall receive 40% of all the revenue accrued from all the services offered and paid by each of the Prophetic Channel subscribers.
“The aforementioned percentage agreement was further applicable to all third party-generated revenue from the content placed on the Prophetic Channel, including but not limited to advertisements and items sold.”
He added that he made several attempts to contact Bushiri and his wife Mary for payment after the prototypes were delivered, even though he was not paid the initial fee for setting it up.
The respondents subsequently launched the platform in conjunction with the Prophetic Channel and consequently received many subscribers. I have yet to receive my rightful share of the proceeds as agreed on.
“I have incurred numerous costs in the set-up, design and all-round creation of the platform, and I am currently in financial difficulty due to the expenses and circumstances surrounding the creation of the platform.
“I have made numerous attempts to obtain payment from the respondents, without success,” he noted in the court papers.
Beke refused to comment on Friday.
Efforts to get comment from ECG were not successful.