Shocking details of how the Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, left South Africa
Shocking details of how the Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, left South Africa
Revealed! Details of how fugitive Shepherd Bushiri left South Africa along side his alleged partner-in-crime have emerged in an investigative report published earlier today.
The details, compiled through a comprehensive work of investigation, have further implicated President Lazarus Chakwera’s regime and therefore the country’s intelligence officials.
Published by the Sunday Independent, the investigative report claims that the 2 fugitives who are arguably the foremost Wanted in South Africa as of today applied cosmetics like spy agents within the cold-war era to flee detection.
The paper further claims in its report that the Malawi government issued the 2 fugitives new diplomatic passports before being smuggled in President Chakwera’s chartered presidential jet.
The Sunday Independent says President Chakwera was conscious of the plot and gave it a green light.
“Fugitive prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, were issued with diplomatic passports bearing decoy names and applied with cosmetic facial changes before being smuggled out of South Africa in Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera’s hired jet” reads the report, citing intelligence sources aware about the investigations of how Bushiri vanished in South Africa |African country|African nation”> South Africa only to seem in Malawi coincidentally on an equivalent date that Chakwera landed at the Kamuzu International Airport from his 2-day-trip in South Africa.
The Bushiris were issued with “diplomatic passports bearing decoy names and applied with cosmetic facial changes before being smuggled out of South Africa in Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera’s hired jet”.
The couple is needed for fraud, theft and concealment about K6 billion in two separate cases.
“Bushiri left in Chakwera’s plane last Friday [13 November 2020] following an operation planned by Malawian intelligence officials and executed by its embassy in Pretoria”, claims the paper citing South Africa’s security cluster – including diplomatic and military intelligence sources, cops , and bureaucrats.
In its investigation, the paper discovered that Bushiri and his wife “were fetched from their range in Centurion during a Malawian embassy vehicle before a scheduled 6pm flight as Chakwera bound up his meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa”.
“They were driven to Air Force Base Waterkloof as a part of an elaborate plot that involved senior Malawian and South African politicians and government officials”.
It is further alleged that the plot began with whisking off Bushiri’s children back to Malawi which the plan was hatched three weeks ago.
The paper further reveals that Bushiri decided to go away South Africa after his lawyers had told him that the National Prosecuting Authority had a robust case of fraud and money-laundering against him which he faced a minimum 15-year jail term.
Chakwera’s visit is believed to possess been a decoy to smuggle the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader and his wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri.
Both Malawi and South Africa have dismissed the allegations as baseless. the 2 government insists that the 2 fugitives didn’t leave South Africa aboard Chakwera’s hired presidential jet.
The Escape Plan: Mbalame ibwelere kuchitsa
While citing what it calls “highly placed sources”, this is often how the paper details how the fugitive Bushiri popularly referred to as Major 1 were smuggled along side his wife:
1. Bushiri approached Chakwera for help through the Malawian embassy; Chakwera instructed the embassy to hatch an idea to save lots of Bushiri and his multi-million rand assets or smuggle him out of South Africa;
2. Malawian intelligence operatives at the embassy considered options, including smuggling him through Mozambique, whisking him off within the presidential jet, or lobbying for Mary’s acquittal and a lesser sentence for Bushiri;
3. After spending fortnight in jail, Bushiri was given the choices and flatly refused the SA jail option; Chakwera, through the Malawian embassy, then lobbied the Ramaphosa administration for assistance;
4. The Malawians banked on their constitution which protects diplomats and bars extraditions unless the suspect was looked for murder or treason.
5. Some members of the judiciary were then lobbied to make sure Bushiri was released on “soft” bail with less stringent conditions, no attachment of his bank accounts and assets except the R5m property in Centurion;
6. Both governments agreed to approve Chakwera’s request for a state visit and use it to smuggle Bushiri out via Air Force Base Waterkloof;
7. An advance team was then sent to SA to finalise logistical preparations for Bushiri’s escape;
8. The Bushiris were fetched from their range in Centurion during a Malawian embassy vehicle and issued with false diplomatic passports and had facial cosmetic changes applied on them;
9. However, SA police, military and diplomatic officers at Waterkloof raised questions on three passengers – two males and a female – whose names didn’t appear on Chakwera’s preapproved passenger list;
10. With rumours that the Bushiris did not report back to the police headquarters , the officials got more suspicious because the height of two passengers resembled that of Bushiri and Mary;
11. A fracas ensued because the MP wanted to detain the three passengers, but the Malawians sought Department of diplomacy and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor’s intervention;
12. Pandor dispatched officials to mapped out the matter and that they agreed the three suspicious passengers would be allowed to board Chakwera’s plane at OR Tambo; Chakwera’s plane made a visit OR Tambo, 25km from Waterkloof, to select up the advanced team including the Bushiris;
12. Bushiri and Mary, with facial cosmetics to disguise them, were whisked onto the place through the diplomatic entrance; Three members of the advance team were left behind to secure and eliminate Bushiri’s assets;
13. The plane left SA shortly after 10pm last Friday and landed in Malawi after midnight;
14. The Malawian government ordered a media blackout at the airport before Chakwera’s arrival;
15. The Bushiris disembarked from the plane immediately after Chakwera and his wife;
16. Some journalists managed to capture footage of the Bushiris disembarking; but the Malawian intelligence later confiscated and classified it as top secret;
17. In SA, intelligence officers and a few officialdom lobbied or spun journalists and editors responsible the country’s porous borders and corruption for Bushiri’s escape.
The conflict Spy
A highly placed source said: “Even though the passports weren’t saying Bushiri, he was employing a decoy name. Their surnames aren’t Bushiris but they appear just like the Bushiris, with few cosmetic changes here and there.
“A bit on Bushiri’s face and on the wife also there have been few cosmetic changes. Those cosmetic changes fitted the profiles of these people on the passports. The fracas started, the rear and forth, the minister of Dirco and by that point it had been now obvious to the standard men and ladies in enforcement that no, no it appears here there could be some smuggling happening .
“They searched and searched, luggage to luggage but they couldn’t find the bags with Bushiri’s name. But there have been people, with diplomatic passports, who seemed like them. The face doesn’t fit this one among Bushiri but the peak and eyes do somehow look an equivalent .
“But then the govt decided that these folks that are suspicious, who the military intelligence said they need to be detained to determine their bonafides, must be released.
“Then the Malawian president and therefore the Malawian secretary of state started putting pressure on us, saying you’ve got never treated us this manner , we desire you’re ill-treating us. there’s nothing sinister there. These are my people, they came here first. At OR Tambo they used the diplomatic entrance to travel to the tarmac. But even thereon side, money exchanged hands.”
Jetting Out of South Africa and Landing in Malawi
Another source said the Malawian intelligence’s plan involved getting Bushiri’s children back thereto country first to make sure they weren’t used as bait.
“The first conclusion was, let’s get the youngsters here. the youngsters must be in Malawi before the operation starts. They were testing the waters with this operation in order that if it failed, they were getting to smuggle him through Mozambique. they might give him his passport and he would cross from Mozambique to Malawi. the opposite option was, remain here and let the wife click , you face the music and that we would intervene diplomatically for a lesser sentence. But the guy refused and told the president that, no, he wants out. He doesn’t even want to be in jail here. the 2 weeks he spent there are hell,” the safety cluster insider.
A military source said members of the military were concerned about the government’s role within the matter because it sent a wrong message about the country.
“Everybody is surprised. The statement is issued by the Malawians, not by our foreign affairs. Why would a plane fly for 25km and land again, with such huge costs. What was at stake? And why has the govt not sent a diplomatic note of protest to Malawi? Why did the NPA not appeal the discharge of Bushiri on bail because it had been obvious he was a flight risk?” the source asked.
A diplomatic source said South Africans should reconcile with the very fact that Bushiri wasn’t returning to face justice.
Malawi24 couldn’t independently verify the allegations the Sunday Independent highlights in its investigative report.
As of press time, fugitive Bushiri who was released indefinitely on Tuesday in the week just each day following his arrest had not commented on the report. He however distanced President Chakwera in his arrest.
He handed himself to the Malawi police along side his wife just in time before an Interpol International Wanted Notice on them might be activated.
The kingmaker: Tonse Alliance & the diplomatic passport saga
Meanwhile, a South African politician alleged in the week that Bushiri financed Chakwera’s presidential bid together with his Tonse Alliance partners.
Soon after his arrest, Bushiri announced hiring a number of the ‘Tonse Alliance’ lawyers who successfully secured the nullification of the 2019 Malawi presidential elections.
Chakwera won the ‘re-run’ which was held in June this year.
Neither Chakwera nor his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has commented on these allegations.
Additional details that Malawi24 has also indicate that Bushiri has strong ties with both the ruling MCP and therefore the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The ECG leader and his wife were first issued diplomatic passports by the DPP regime allegedly following an order by the then Malawi President Peter Mutharika.
A source aware about the difficulty claimed that two high-ranking cabinet ministers made an efficient case for the controversial prophet to be handed a diplomatic passport.
Malawi government confirmed issuing the couple the diplomatic passports which the immigration department said came without the diplomatic status related to such passports.
However, an affidavit prepared by South Africa n prosecutors claimed the Bushiris used the passports to evade customs which the couple behaved as they pleased whenever flying in and out of South Africa.