Prophet Bushiri’s assets in serious trouble

The man who works as a driver for controversial self-proclaimed pastor Shepherd Bushiri allegedly tried to smuggle two vehicles through the Beitbridge border into Zimbabwe a month after Bushiri and his wife escaped to Malawi.

The pastor’s daring escape caused a massive scandal in South Africa’s security cluster, sparking several investigations into how the couple had been able to leave the country without a trace. The matter also caused diplomatic tension between South Africa and Malawi after allegations arose that that country’s presidential aircraft may have been used to take the Bushiris out of South Africa.

In a report by Honey Corporate Recovery Insolvency, which acts on behalf of joint trustees Jerry Mashamba and Louisa Selina Kgatle, who were tasked with tracing and collating Bushiri’s assets by the Johannesburg Master of the High Court.

The report reveals that Bushiri’s driver was arrested two months ago when he tried to illegally take a Volkswagen Kombi across the border. The vehicle was seized and is being held at the Musina Police Station.

“On December 16, the Hawks informed our representative, Jacques le Roux, of a 2019 Volkswagen Kombi that was intercepted at the Beitbridge border, where a driver tried to take it over the border illegally. The vehicle is registered in the name of Bushiri Ministries,” read the report.

The trustees have revealed that another vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz Viano, was also seized by police while it was being taken through the same border.

Bushiri is known for his penchant for expensive vehicles, which include a Rolls-Royce Ghost, a Bentley, a Maserati, a Mercedes-Benz G Wagon, a Range Rover and a BMW. Some of the vehicles are said to be in Malawi.

“We confirm that the trustees have not been able to attach any other vehicles or movable assets. However, they have received information relating to certain vehicles that they are investigating and will attach as and when they are able to do so,” read the report.

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In their report, sent to the Johannesburg Master of the High Court regarding the combi that was unsuccessfully smuggled out of the country, the law firm said “a case docket was opened. The vehicle is currently in safekeeping in Musina. Once the trustees are able to apply for the extension of their powers and they find that they are entitled to attach this asset, they will [do so].”

The report, dated January 12, also revealed that the trustees searching for the Bushiri’s assets were looking abroad to find hidden riches. The trustees informed the Johannesburg Master of the High Court that they had already attached several of Bushiri’s properties.

In the report, the lawyers representing the trustees revealed that Bushiri’s luxury hotel in Magaliesberg was part of an international group of hotels.

“The Sparkling Waters Hotel & Spa is, according to information at our disposal, part of a group of hotels known as SB Hotels. SB Hotels has five hotels in Barcelona, two in Tarragona, one in Madrid and one in Terres de l’Ebre.

This information will also be investigated in full by the trustees to ascertain whether Mr Bushiri in fact holds any interest in any of these hotels, and will take any steps they deem necessary once confirmation of any interest is received,” the report read.

It added that the trustees had also attached Bushiri’s Midstream house in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng, changed the locks and blocked access to it.

“The property situated at Lake Circle, Midstream Estate, as well as the loose assets found on the property, was attached by the deputy sheriff of Kempton Park on December 19. After the attachment by the deputy sheriff, this property and movable assets were attached by the dually appointed agent of the trustees, being Mr Jacque le Roux of the SA Auction Group. All the doors and windows of the property were secured and the locks were changed.

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The keys are currently in possession of Mr le Roux. All access to the property was also blocked at the Midstream gate by the estate manager,” the report read.

According to the report, the trustees were also gunning for Bushiri’s Gulfstream private jet, which is being held at Lanseria International Airport following a successful application by the National Prosecuting Authority to have the aircraft seized, pending an investigation into allegations of money laundering by the clergyman.

“The aircraft is registered in the name of Shepherd Bushiri Investments (Pty) Ltd and not in the name of Mr Bushiri personally. Once the trustees are able to apply for the extension of their powers and they find that they are entitled to attach this asset, they will proceed accordingly,” read the report.

The trustees, as well as the Hawks, have identified five properties and 32 registered companies that are linked to the couple.

“In the interim, the trustees are investigating the entities and obtaining as much information as possible, within their limited powers. Once their powers are extended, they will be able to extend these investigations and take any steps they might deem necessary in this regard to attach assets to the benefit of the general body of creditors,” the report read.

Approached for comment on the leaked report, Mashamba said: “Since our appointment by the Master of High Court, South Gauteng, we’ve moved swiftly to perform our duties to identify, trace and secure assets of Bushiri.

[This includes] intercepting the two very expensive cars at the Beitbridge border and the Sparkling Waters Hotel Spa.

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We’re in constant discussion with the authorities regarding the private jet, which was seized by the state, and there were at least four Ponzi schemes identified. All known bank accounts have been frozen.”

Mashamba said they were also in discussion with authorities in the US about Bushiri’s assets and proceeds of criminal activities that the American authorities had identified. “We need to apply for recognition in Malawi, the UK and the US.

We’re following up on beneficiaries of funds from South Africa that were transferred to specific individuals locally and internationally, especially to a specific individual in the UK who used to live in South Africa.

“I also place on record that I’ve received numerous threats from several members of the public. People must appreciate that this is a high-profile matter and [Bushiri] is a man of means whose dedicated followers will stop at nothing to protect him,” he said.

Attempts to obtain comment from Bushiri and his lawyers were unsuccessful.

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