The Hawks are investigating how Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife managed to defy their bail conditions and flee to their home country Malawi. The couple and two other accused were arrested last month on charges of fraud, money laundering and theft worth more than R102 million.

They were granted R200 000 bail each last week and had to report to their nearest police station every Monday and Friday.

The couple released a statement this morning, confirming that they had fled to Malawi.

Bushiri also demanded that the South African government guarantees his safety before he for returns to the country for trial.

Hawks Spokesperson Katlego Mogale says the police only became aware of their escape after they failed to report at a police station last night.

The Bushiris had been handed strict bail conditions, which only allowed them to travel between Rustenburg and Gauteng.

They and their co-accused are facing fraud, theft and money laundering charges.

Earlier, Bushiri had announced that he would be briefing the media. However, his lawyers have no confirmed that the briefing will no longer be taking place.

Credit: SABC News