NATIONAL NEWS - Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri has allegedly hoodwinked several followers out of millions through a failed commodity investment opportunity.
Investors told City Press that it all began with Bushiri announcing that there was a financial opportunity in 2017 that could empower his congregants and make them millionaires.
The publication was in possession of documents and emails that showed how investors were promised a 50% return on their investments within 30 banking days. The investors had to invest between R100,000 and R1 million.
An email sent to selected congregants urged them to hurry and grab the new opportunity.
The mail had a subject line: “commodity investment opportunity is open – minimum is R100 000!” The mail began with the words: “I hear good news … HURRY!! It’s first-come-first-serve.”
The mail also pleaded with congregants to come with cash and not cards on two days in March that year. Some of the investors claimed the halls were packed with congregants handing over wads of cash over the two days.
Those who could not deliver cash were instructed to deposit their money into the account of a company called Rising Estates, of which the directors are allegedly Bushiri’s well-known lieutenants Duncan Oduor Otieno, Kit Ching Catherine Kum and Willah Mudolo – who have all been seen with Bushiri on TV.
One of the congregants who claimed to have been duped, Sylvia Skosana, who lives in Pretoria, invested R100,000, which she borrowed.
“I took a personal loan to invest and I know of people who went as far as selling their houses, hoping to replace them when they received the returns. We have still not received the promised harvest.”
It has been a year since Skosana made the investment, still with no returns.
Bushiri’s team has “sympathised” with disappointed investors and issued an email to those who lost money.
“We truly understand your disappointment and appreciate the inconvenience the delay in your harvest has caused you to date,” reads the message.
“There is no question that we have not met the very high standards you have come to expect and should continue to demand from us, and in our effort to settle all partners who opted to receive their harvest, we sent out communication based on information that all the funds will be released.”
The email further stated that they did not have all the money available, as they were waiting for more money to be cleared.
City Press contacted Bushiri’s spokesperson, Maynard Manyowa, who had not responded.