Tabloid Sunday World reports that controversial charismatic pastor Shepherd Bushiri is now fighting allegations that he is a rapist.
The paper reports that at least one Pretoria woman laid a charge of rape against him but later withdrew it, claiming Bushiri’s enemies had coerced her into “concocting the case”. There are reportedly other accusers too.
The Hawks confirmed they are continuing to investigate claims of rape against Bushiri, including allegations of “other victims” in his church, the Enlightened Christian Gathering, and have referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi would not provide details of what they are investigating Bushiri for, but he did confirm he has been in their cross-hairs.
The pastor’s lawyer, Terrance Baloyi, claimed several women had been paid to make false claims against his client.
Last week, the same newspaper reported that Bushiri allegedly sends R15 million a month back to Malawi to be laundered.
According to the paper’s police source, a number of witnesses in the church’s leadership had come forward with information that money gets “cleaned illegally” into various businesses in Malawi, though Baloyi denied this week there was any truth to this and said it was part of the smear campaign.
The witnesses have also claimed that Bushiri orchestrates carefully planned false miracles as part of his services, while his alleged collaborators have now apparently been 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.
Earlier this year, 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 prophet. His ministry was only one among many they were opposing.