Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri handed himself over to the Hawks on Tuesday, while his wife Mary was arrested.
The Hawks, however, say Bushiri initially tried to “evade” its officers and then handed himself over in the presence of an “entourage of attorneys”.
In a statement, his Enlightened Christian Gathering church said the Hawks apparently told the couple’s lawyers that they wanted the pair to visit their offices at 11am on Tuesday to discuss a “certain investment with a company called Rising Estate”.
“As [Bushiri] and lawyers were getting prepared for the 11am appointment, the Hawks went to their house before the 11am appointment and arrested the prophet’s wife alone,” said Bushiri’s spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo.
Bushiri, according to Nyondo, then went to Hawks offices to hand himself over.
“He believes in the justice system of the country and he will abide by all that the law compels until all this war is done. As the matter is still under criminal investigation, we have been advised not to discuss this matter any further,” Nyondo said.
Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said four people, including another pastor and his wife, were arrested for their alleged involvement in fraud and money laundering worth R102m.
“The Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation members arrested the first couple on Saturday, the woman in Sandton and her husband at OR Tambo International Airport. The two — Willah Mudolo and Zethu Mudolo — have since appeared in the Pretoria magistrate’s court and their case was postponed to October 30 for formal bail applications.
“On Tuesday, the team made a further arrest of another couple allegedly involved in the same case. The woman, 39, was arrested at her home and her husband, 37, after trying to evade the team handed himself over at Silverton police station with an entourage of attorneys,” Mogale said.
The couple arrested on Tuesday is expected to appear in the Pretoria magistrate’s court soon.
In a separate matter, Bushiri, the Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader, and his wife on Friday appeared in the Pretoria high court for a virtual pretrial conference. Their matter was postponed to May 31 and June 18 next year for trial.
The Hawks’ case against the couple concerns alleged offences of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca).
Nomahlubi Jordaan – TimesLIVE