Monday, 2 April 2018

Prophet Bushiri Being Investigated For ‘Laundering Millions’ In Malawi – Report

Sources in the police have told a Sunday paper that witnesses claim the pastor sends R15m a year to his home country. Controversial charismatic pastor Shepherd Bushiri is apparently making so much money from his churches in South Africa that he’s able to send R15 million a month back to Malawi, according to Sunday World.

They allege the money leaves in vehicles including his private jet.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed to the tabloid that the Hawks have been investigating the pastor, but cautioned that the case was in its early stages and he could not divulge or confirm any details.

The leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering churches that are spread throughout southern Africa could not be reached by the paper for comment, while his lawyer said they were not aware of any probe.

According to the paper’s police source, a number of witnesses in the church’s leadership have come forward with information that money gets “cleaned illegally” into various businesses in Malawi.

They also claimed that Bushiri orchestrates carefully planned false miracles as part of his services, while his collaborators are now apparently demanding to be paid more for playing their part in his alleged duping of the faithful.

Bushiri has faced criticism for allegedly encouraging the poor to hand over their savings and even sell their belongings in exchange for miracles.

Last month, a group of Christians who gathered to march against rogue churches in Johannesburg were forced to withdraw placards criticising Shepherd Bushiri due to a high court interdict prohibiting them from defaming the controversial prophet.
Prophet Bushiri Being Investigated For ‘Laundering Millions’ In Malawi – Report
Bushiri filed an urgent interdict in the North Gauteng High Court against the march organisers to not defame him on their posters during the event. This came after allegations that organisers had criticised and defamed Bushiri on Facebook.

A memorandum was handed to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights) in Braamfontein.

One of the organisers, Solomon Ashoms, said although the march was not against Bushiri specifically, the placards were withdrawn to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

”This is not about Bushiri, but about false prophets. This about awareness because sometimes we keep quiet and pretend we do not know what’s going on around us … let’s have that conversation,” said Ashoms.

”We know people in our communities and churches that had been abused, but we’re keeping quiet. Another issue is how to deal with this legally through the criminal justice system. So we are marching here to put pressure on the commission to urgently attend to this problem.”

South Africa has in recent months seen an increase in pastors and prophets who claimed they could heal or instantly create wealth for congregants using illegal means. The rogue churches have been widely criticised for robbing the poor and vulnerable while church leaders lived in luxury.

Ashoms, a Nigerian national, said some of his fellow countrymen were guilty of using religion to make money in South Africa.

”I know some of them do that and I do tell them. We have seen the great commercialisation of Christianity, where congregants have pay for a prayer, water, oil. So they merchandise everything in churches, that is business and nothing else. They live a flamboyant life in expensive suits driving flashy cars. We need to question all these things.”

The CRL commission completed an investigation of all religions and their unscrupulous practices. The report was handed to Parliament last year.

The report showed that churches had been turned into money-making schemes by rogue pastors and prophets who lived off vulnerable people seeking help from churches. The probe found that there were in-house services paid for by the vulnerable congregants seeking God’s help. The commission found that some churches even had ATMs and speed points for congregants to withdraw cash for tithes and the purchasing of ”holy water” and other services.

The commission had also investigated the eNgcobo cult church in the Eastern Cape, where seven church leaders, who were the sons of the church founder, were gunned down during a raid by police last month. The police raided the church after an attack on eNgcobo Police Station, where five police officers and a soldier were massacred.

Commission chairwoman Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said Parliament was warned about the dangerous eNgcobo church, but had failed to act to prevent a possible tragedy. – Additional reporting, ANA
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