The Priority Crime Investigations Directorate (The Hawks) said on Sunday it would not be asked to comment on speculation that self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri has been in South Africa since his escape to Malawi.

This follows reports that Bushiri had been to South Africa three times since he fled to Malawi with his wife Mary in November after they were released on bail

The City Press reported that South African security agencies are investigating allegations that Bushiri has been in the country three times.

Speaking following the claims, Hawks acknowledged that “It is a common cause that he (Bushiri) is currently in his country of birth. A return process is being handled by the competent authority in accordance with extradition provisions.”

“At the right time, we will put the country in confidence once there are notable developments on this process. We will therefore not have to comment on speculations on this subject. ”

The Bushiris were released on R200,000 (K11,182,000) bail by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on November 4 after their arrest in October.

With the most recent visit just two months ago, authorities are trying to establish how Church leader Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) got through the tight security cordon that was put in place to apprehend him.

In their statement on Sunday, the Hawks said, “We therefore call on anyone with credible evidence to support this circulating speculation to release this information to the police.”

The Hawks said they had formally arrested Bushiri and brought him to justice on charges against him.

“He was released on bail and failed to meet the bail conditions to appear on a specific date. An arrest warrant was then granted which obliges us to execute.

The Bushiri are wanted in South Africa on charges of fraud and money laundering linked to a R100 million investment plan.

In November, Church leaders from the Enlightened Christian Gathering fled to Malawi.

As part of their bail conditions, they had been restricted to travel only to Gauteng and the northwest until the case was settled.

They surrendered to Malawi police after an arrest warrant was issued by Interpol.

On June 8, the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court in Malawi rejected a state request asking South African-based witnesses to virtually testify at their extradition hearing.

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