FUGITIVES Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, who have already lost their combined R400 000 bail money and face the prospects of forfeiting their R5.5 million property at Midstream Estate, are also set to lose their Gulfstream luxury jet.
The aircraft was preserved last year as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) claimed it was bought with the proceeds of crime.
While Bushiri fought tooth and nail to get his plane back, the NPA at the time said it had enough facts to believe the aircraft was the proceeds of unlawful activities or the instrument of an offence.
The application for him to forfeit the plane was brought before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria last year by the NPA. The matter was removed from the roll at the time, as it was not ready to proceed.
Bushiri, in a lengthy affidavit, explained to the court a year ago in detail the plane was, ultimately, bought with legitimate proceeds.
He is blaming a conspiracy and vendetta by some people against him due to his popularity.
Bushiri also stated how he was blackmailed to pay to make “his problems” go away, but he refused to fall for this.
The charges led to the preservation order earlier last year, which was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
The 1984 Gulfstream aircraft formed part of the fraud, money laundering and other related charges amounting to more than R15m on which Bushiri and his wife were initially arrested.
While the NPA claimed Bushiri flouted exchange control regulations relating to R16m worth of foreign currency when he bought the plane, he denied this.
According to Bushiri, he was tired of the travelling between his congregations here and outside the country and decided to buy a plane to make travelling easier.
Bushiri also explained that he received many donations from outside parties and several people also insisted on giving him gifts for his services.
This was apart from other payments he received, including private praying sessions for people in need. As he was a foreign national and only visited South Africa at the time, he could not open a bank account.
According to his earlier affidavit he also received a lot of money from “the international visitors programme”. ■