Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s multimillion-rand private jet has been attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) – part of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) – amid allegations that he fabricated loan agreement papers to acquire it.
News24 has seen two affidavits – one from a detective colonel attached to the Hawks and one from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) – detailing how cash was used to pay for the jet.
Earlier this month, Bushiri and his wife Mary were charged with fraud, money laundering and the contravention of exchange control regulations.
They have been released on R100 000 bail each and are expected to appear in court again on May 10.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that a preservation order was served on Bushiri on February 6 at the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
“He has 14 days [from February 6] to enter an appearance if he intends to oppose the application for forfeiture.
READ: Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife granted R100 000 bail
“If he fails to enter an appearance [to oppose] in terms of the order or to comply with the requirements, he will not be given notice of the application for a forfeiture order and will not be entitled to appear at the hearing of the application,” he said.
Mulaudizi said the Hawks’ investigation was at a “very sensitive stage”.
“There is a lot that we gained and we would not want to jeopardise the co-operation we have with the witnesses. We continue to receive magnitudes of information. We have a strong case with the current matter in court,” he said.
The NPA confirmed the preservation order but declined to comment.
An affidavit deposed to by a Hawks investigator – which News24 has seen – states that Bushiri purchased the aircraft for $1,25m in November 2015.
However, last year, SARB investigators assisted the Hawks to probe the purchase of the aircraft.
According to investigators, Bushiri alleged that funds he used to secure the aircraft were obtained from a loan for $1,25m from Joint Aviation Resources LLC (JAR) and that he paid the money back.
An investigator from SARB then requested bank statements. But he was unable to trace any transactions that matched the amount.
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