NATIONAL NEWS - Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and four others were granted bail in the Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, under strict conditions.
The accused – Bushiri, his wife, Mary, Landiwe Ntlokwana, Zethu and Willie Mudolo – are facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering in connection with an investment scheme worth R102 million.
Following two weeks of argument, the court concluded that the risk of the accused absconding from criminal proceedings was minimal.
Bushiri and his wife were subsequently granted bail of R200 000 each.
Ntlokwana was granted R100 000 bail and Zethu Mudolo R20 000 bail.
Her husband, Willie Mudolo, is expected to apply for bail on Friday.
In her judgment, magistrate Thandi Theledi said the issue of permanent residency in SA with respect to the Bushiris.
“Although it is a concern to the State and [is] under investigation, the fact currently remains that they are permanent residents.
“Should Accused 4 and 5’s (Bushiri and Mary) permanent residency status be revoked while this case is still pending in court, the State will then exercise its rights,” she explained.
The group is to report to their nearest SAPS office every Monday and Friday – between 06:00 and 18:00 – until the case is finalised.
They are also barred from travelling outside the borders of the South Africa, until this case is finalised.
The Bushiris are barred from travelling anywhere in South Africa, except within the Gauteng and North West provinces.
The group’s travel documents were handed to the investigating officer. They are also barred from applying for any travel documents while this case is still pending in court.
The Bushiris are to hand over the original title deed of a property, jointly owned by them, as a guarantee that they will attend the rest of the criminal proceedings.
This must be handed to the NPA by 5 November at 16:00.
In addition, the Bushiris are barred from disposing of the said property (title deed) or obtaining a new title deed for the said property, until the case is finalised.
The accused are also not to intimidate or threaten state witnesses in the case, directly or indirectly
Theledi also told the Bushiris that they cannot make threats through their preaching.
“In your preaching, or any platforms to your congregants as well as your followers, you are barred from making any threats towards the state witnesses, members of the prosecuting team and members of the investigating team,” she said.
Theledi further warned that, if bail conditions are not adhered to, it can be cancelled and the money paid will be forfeited to the State.
All the accused are due back in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday.