The charismatic prophet says his church is being punished based on ‘outright falsehoods’ from ‘faceless groups’ of people on social media.
Enlightened Christian Gathering Church founder Shepherd Bushiri took to social media yesterday to clear the air on what he called “speculations” that have been aimed at destroying his church.
The Malawian-born pastor said he would be sharing submissions made to the CRL Rights Commission by his church following a stampede that killed three members of his church. The commission found today that the event held at Bushiri’s church was “compliant”.
“From the beginning, we have always reiterated that we have nothing to hide and want the truth to prevail. Lies have very short legs but the truth sets everyone free. I am thankful to God for redeeming our name despite the false media reports. I am thankful that the truth has been found through this investigation. We have been victimised as a church, called all sorts of bad names and, sometimes, punished based on outright falsehoods advanced by faceless groups of people mostly on social media,” said the church’s leader.
Bushiri accused the media of reporting that he told “the public” that South Africans loved his church because they believed in magic and miracles, unlike Malawians who believed in God.
“I have never said that. It is all lies. I challenge everybody out there who has such a recording of me saying that to come forward and face me.”
He further said his church did not sell “the blood of Jesus”, and that his wife, Mary, was not “pregnant of the Holy Spirit”.
“They are all lies. Come to our church and inspect the church materials we sale [sic]. We are open and accessible.”
Despite people taking to social media to share how they paid the pastor money for prayers, Bushiri said the reports were “shocking”.
“Why don’t you the media come to church, disguise yourself as a congregant and find out if we charge people for prayers? We don’t do that!”
He said his church never held a gala dinner that charged people R25,000 to sit next to him either.
“The church doesn’t even know who created the poster and the church has never had such a gala dinner.”
A statement from the church says he and his wife Mary were arrested by the Hawks on fraud and money laundering charges.
“As you will remember, from last year, we have struggled with reports that our father was guilty. He has been detained and is being questioned by the Hawks in Silverton, Pretoria.”
Bushiri spokesperson Maynard Manyowa says: “Police came in the morning to the hotel, picked them up, saying they wanted to talk to them. They wouldn’t tell us exactly why or how.
Meanwhile, Prophet Bushiri will appear in court on Monday after spending this whole weekend behind bars. He and his wife have been arrested for fraud and money laundering.
It’s not the first time Bushiri faces fraud charges. Last year, he was arrested for allegedly shipping millions of rands from South Africa to Malawi. He also came under fire in December after a stampede at his church left three congregants dead.
On Friday, the CRL Rights Commission found the church had complied with safety standards for that event.
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