Founder and president of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, has hit back at claims he raped two of his congregants.
The allegations came to light following a recent interview aired on eNCA. However, Bushiri claims the women were trying to extort money from him.
In a lengthy video on his Facebook page, Bushiri claimed one of the women approached his lawyer days before the interview was to be aired, and said that if they were paid money, the interview would not have to be shown on television.
Bushiri further claimed the rape allegations were trumped up by SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) Tshwane chairman Abram Mashishi, who he believes is the mastermind behind many of his woes.
In the interview, two women claim they were lured to a hotel in Pretoria – on separate occasions – and raped by Bushiri, who also refers to himself as “Major 1”.
“I was told by my lawyer that there is a woman who wants to confess. This woman met my lawyer. It was very late in the evening. She said there is a story that will come out on e.tv against the prophet and I am interviewed in that interview. But we want to say this, if you give us money, we will not air the interview. My lawyer took a phone and recorded her. She asked why was he recording her and he said this can be used against you and the prophet in the court,” Bushiri said.
He claimed the woman told his lawyer she needed money.
In another video Bushiri shared, a woman is seen talking to two men. She is believed to be one of the alleged rape victims and is seen telling the men they have been promised R50 000. In the video, the woman says she has to make everything up.
He also played a voice note, purportedly from one of the alleged rape victim’s mothers, claiming the woman need money.
“If you see this woman, it’s a long audio but you hear her saying she is looking for money and she wants to come herself and wants to settle the issues,” he said.
Bushiri said he understood he was not above the law, but was still calling for the investigation to take place within the ambit of the law.
“I am calling for a lawful investigation. What is happening behind these investigations is completely not lawful. I am calling for these investigations to be done as per what the law states,” he said.
Bushiri and his wife, Mary are currently out on bail. They face charges of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of the Organised Crime Act.
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed rape charges had been laid against Bushiri, but, however, investigations were not complete.
“Yes, the NPA is aware of the matter. However, the investigation is not complete. There is still outstanding investigations which we cannot divulge at this stage. Once investigations are complete, the matter will be enrolled,” Lumka Mahanjana, spokesperson for the NPA in the Gauteng North region, said.