The pompous born again evangelist Shepherd Bushiri, who had previously said he wanted to clear his name, has fled South Africa to his home country, Malawi and skipped bail in a case that he is charged with fraud and money laundering.
Bushiri described his decision to skip bail as “a tactical withdrawal meant to preserve lives” while speaking to supporters on social media on Saturday.
He said there had been attempts on his life and he accused the South African authorities of not offering protection.
There had been allegations that Bushiri fled on Malawi’s presidential jet with President Lazarus Chakwera – something that has been denied by both Chakwera’s office and the South African authorities.
There are also questions over whether the two countries will co-operate over bringing the couple back to South Africa.
The South African government announced on Sunday that they have started the process to bring the couple back from Malawi “to ensure that the two fugitives face justice”.
Bushiri has been referred to as one of the richest religious leaders in Africa.
He says he has cured people of HIV, made the blind see, changed the fortunes of the impoverished and, on at least one occasion, appeared to walk on air.