Shepherd and Mary Bushiri, who have already lost their combined R400,000 bail money, face the prospects of forfeiting their R5.5 million property at Midstream Estate and may also lose their luxury jet.
The aircraft was preserved last year as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) claimed it was bought with the proceeds of crime.
While Bushiri fought tooth and nail to get his plane back, the NPA at the time said that it had enough facts to believe the aircraft was the proceeds of unlawful activities or the instrument of an offence.
The application for him to forfeit the plane was brought before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria last year by the NPA. The matter was removed from the roll at the time, as it was not ready to proceed.
Bushiri, in a lengthy affidavit, explained to the court a year ago in detail that the plane was, ultimately, bought with legitimate proceeds.
He is blaming a conspiracy and vendetta by some people against him due to his popularity.
Bushiri also stated how he was blackmailed to pay to make “his problems” go away, but he refused to fall for this.
The charges led to the preservation order earlier last year, which was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
The 1984 Gulfstream aircraft formed part of the fraud, money laundering and other related charges amounting to more than R15m on which Bushiri and his wife were initially arrested.
While the NPA claimed Bushiri flouted exchange control regulations relating to R16m worth of foreign currency when he bought the plane, the prophet denied this.
According to the self acclaimed prophet, he was tired of all the travelling between his congregations here and outside the country’s borders and decided to buy a plane to make travelling easier.
Bushiri also explained that he received a lot of donations from outside parties and that several people also insisted on giving him gifts for his services.
This was apart from other payments he received, including private praying sessions for people in need. As he was a foreign national and only visited South Africa at the time, he could not open a bank account.
According to his earlier affidavit he also received a lot of money from “the international visitors programme”.
Meanwhile, in reaction to South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi when he addressed Parliament on Tuesday regarding his escape from that country, Bushiri reiterated that cannot have a fair trial in South Africa as Motsoaledi continues to “intentionally and unfairly mislead the people of South Africa and the whole world in this regard”.
Motsoaledi addressed the Portfolio Committee in Parliament that oversees and holds the Minister to account on issues relating to his ministry, amongst others, immigration.
Bushiri says Motsoaledi took the Committee through the process that his department employs to keep track of movement of the people entering and leaving of South Africa.
“He also went into the process that is followed within his department when permits are issued,” Bushiri says. “Unfortunately, during the said briefing, the Minister went into the merits of our pending criminal trial as well as the existing internal processes within his ministry in which he is the appeals authority.
“This is one of the processes that my wife and I should follow during the process that has been interdicted by the High Court in South Africa, which the Minister also indicated that he was disappointed when our rights were protected by the Court.”
He also claims the Bushiris’ permanent residence permits are irregular and therefore their stay in South Africa is unlawful.
He also said Motsoaledi misrepresented facts that he and his wife are accused of inducing the immigration authorities to issue the permits and the department issued incorrect permits to them due to their oversight.
“Therefore, his department has decided to revoke our permits. This is but one of the many injustices that I feared would befall me and my wife.
“This internal process is already prejudged by the Minister before I submit my representations on why our permits should not be revoked because we did nothing wrong.”
Bushiri confirmed that indeed he and his wife have five passports but they do not bear different names and details.
“Once again, this issue is before the High Court in South Africa. This statement by the Minister further strengthen my fear that I will not get a fair trial in South Africa.
“For the record, my wife and have 5 passports each, one of which is a diplomatic passport and one is a normal passport — we submitted all these passports to the Investigating Officer in South Africa.
“Because we are frequent travelers due to the work of our ministry, the other passports are full, however, they have international visas and hence we kept them.
“There is nothing sinister about that. Even the Immigration Department in Malawi has attested to that.
“In this regard, it would never be an understatement to conclude that of the fears of the injustices that I am fearing, the reason I came to Malawi, has just been confirmed by Honourable Motsoaledi, MP. The whole world was watching and saw for themselves.
“I need to underline that I came to Malawi not to seek political intervention. I came to Malawi to seek justice before the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
“I have strong belief in the Constitution of Malawi because it protects its every citizen, including my wife and I.
“Because of that, I will be presenting myself before law enforcement agencies this morning to legally explain and defend the decisions that I made to come to Malawi.
“I am innocent until proven guilty. As of now, there is no court in the world that has proven me guilty. I may be subjected by media and public trial but I mantain my innocence until proven guilty.
“It is unfortunate, therefore, to have the Minister of Home Affairs in South Africa to intentionally and unfairly mislead the people of South Africa and the whole world in this regard.”—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express