- Minister Naledi Pandor has slammed a recent report claiming that Shepherd Bushiri had help escaping
- Pandor has threatened with legal action unless the elaborate plot put forward by the media agency concerned is retracted
- The report had claimed that both South African and Malawian authorities had a hand in aiding the 'prophet' and his wife escape
Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor has noted the Sunday Independent report on Sheperd Bushiri and his wife, Mary.
The Minister, in response to claims that she had a hand in aiding the fugitives to escape South Africa, said that she considers the matter subject of a full and proper investigation.
Pandor would prefer that the responsible authorities are left to probe the incident 'rather than speculation that borders on irresponsible journalism'.
The Minister is adamant that officials are working diligently and should be left to do so without having their reputations 'tarnished by unnamed sources that hide in the shadows'.
The department was also concerned that it had not been afforded the opportunity to respond to these allegations, adding that:
"Minister Pandor invites the newspaper to issue an immediate retraction of the wholly false suggestion that she intervened in this matter. To that end, the Department will be seeking legal advice."
The report in question, published by Sunday Independent, claimed that the couple had escaped on President Lazurus Chakware's jet:
"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."
The report insinuated that officials in both countries had accepted bribes to aid the escape:
"They were driven to Air Force Base Waterkloof as part of an elaborate plot that involved senior Malawian and South African politicians and government officials and the alleged exchange of money."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that another recent report had alleged that Shepherd and Mary Bushiri made their way out of South Africa through the Beitbridge border post.
According to the report the controversial religious leaders allegedly paid officials at the post in order to escape.
Media and social media alike have been abuzz since the news emerged that the couple had fled to Malawi.
Their bail conditions, saw the Bushiris forfeiting their R5.5m property. They have already forked out a whopping R400 000 as they were released on R200 000 bail each.
It's also been reported that the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court issued the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) with a warrant of arrest for The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader and his wife.
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