Lawyer for Shepherd Bushiri in South Africa, Terence Baloyi, has sued South African Police Services (Saps) for R15 million following his 8 hour detention without charge earlier this month.

Baloyi confirmed the development.

Bushiri’s spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo, also confirmed the same, adding that Baloyi has given Saps 30 days to pay the R15 million or a formal legal complaint will be filed in court.

“As a matter of fact, Mr Baloyi has on several occasions shared with the public the agony, pain and persecution he has persistently suffered after he stood up to a series of extortion pushes on Prophet Bushiri from certain Hawks personnel led by officers Phumla Mrwebi, Colonel Corrie Maritz, Du Plessis and their colleagues,” he said.

Leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church Bushiri early this month said his instructing attorney in South Africa, Terrance Baloyi, and legal adviser, Alvin Khosa, were “unlawfully” detained by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).

“On Monday, with deep shock and sadness, I learnt about how the Hawks, for eight hours, unlawfully detained my instructing attorney Mr Terrance Baloyi and my legal adviser Mr Alvin Khosa. The eight-hour unlawful detention further included an officer from independent private investigation in South Africa,” said Bushiri in a statement issued from Lilongwe, Malawi.

“The said independent private investigator is the one I once hired to investigate extortion and blackmain (blackmail) acts against me.”

Bushiri, wanted in South Africa on charges including fraud and money laundering, said the legal team was later released without charges pressed.

“It’s shocking to note that after my instructing lawyers and the private investigator who, after being unlawfully kept in custody like convicted criminals, the senior state advocates who issued the alleged warrant of arrests were nowhere to be seen and court officials (were) left with no option but to release my lawyers from custody under the banner of claiming that the police investigations are incomplete, yet we know they have been investigating since 2017. Worse, they proceeded to arrest. Clear malice, torture and harassment to the legal practitioners at its best,” said Bushiri.

“Though saddened, I am not surprised with this awful detention because it’s just an escalation and intensification of a failed scheme, by certain Hawks officers hell burnt (hell-bent) to cover up the dirt I reported against them.”

He said during his stay in South Africa, he had suffered persecution from Hawks officers who wanted to extort money from him. Bushiri has repeatedly listed the Hawks officers he accused of leading the charge against him as “Phumla Mrwebi, Colonel Corrie Maritz, Du Plessis and their colleagues”.

The Hawks are yet to respond to a query from the African News Agency (ANA) about his allegations. The preacher, however, insisted the Hawks officers were still handling his case.

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