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Fugitive multimillionaire pastor Shepherd Bushiri faces extradition to South Africa

Pastor Shepherd Bushiri could soon be extradited from his home in Malawi.

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Multimillionaire Pastor Shepherd Bushiri. ©Billionaires.Africa

The formal extradition hearing of South Africa-based multimillionaire pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife has been suspended due to “evidence bias.” The shift came as the defense counsel launched an application for the withdrawal of the presiding judge. The extradition hearing had originally been scheduled to take place on March 8 in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court. 

“We were ready to proceed, but when we got to the court, we realized that the court had changed magistrates, which took us by surprise,” Wapona Kita, the defense counsel, was reported by News24 as saying, “We have information that it is the same magistrate who issued a warrant of arrest against our client.” 

Earlier in January, Malawian Justice Ministry Spokesperson Pirirani Masanjala announced that the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court had issued a warrant of arrest for the two fugitives and scheduled the hearing for March 8, according to News24.  

Shephrd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, suffered a very public fall from grace on Feb. 1, 2019, when the South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) arrested them at a hotel in Rustenburg, a small town at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountains. The couple were charged with fraud, money laundering and infringing the Prevention of Organized Crime Act in 2015. 

Also known as the “Hawks,” the DPCI launched an investigation into the Bushiris in 2018. SABC News reported that the pastor was accused of laundering “more than R102 million (approximately $6.6 million) through his church,” the Enlightened Christian Gathering. 

For months on end after their arrest, the South African judicial system failed to schedule a time for the trial against the Bushiris. In November 2020, they received conditional bail, restricting their travel to the Gauteng and North West provinces until the case is brought to a close.

Shortly after they were bailed, the couple fled to Bushiri’s native Malawi, citing fears that they would not receive a fair trial in South Africa, ZWNews reported. At the time of their escape, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera and his delegation were scheduled to depart South Africa after a working visit with the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. The situation led to a delay in Chakwera’s flight at Pretoria airport for seven hours as officials searched the presidential jet.

A few things to know about the Shepherd Bushiri

Shepherd Bushiri is a Malawian preacher, motivational speaker, author and businessman with interests in mining, real estate and air travel. He is recognized as one of Africa’s wealthiest pastors with a net worth of $150 million as of July 2020, according to Naijaauto. He also has more than 1 million followers in South Africa alone, Al Jazeera reported.

Bushiri’s South African followers call him “Prophet Shepherd Bushiri,” “papa,” or “Major.” Rumors abound about his life and upbringing. His father named him Chipiliro Gama at birth. The Sunday Times cited an anonymous member of his church as saying Bushiri claims to have been disowned by his Muslim family after becoming a pastor at the age of eight. He was said to have revealed a scar on his foot where his father shot the young pastor as he ran away.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto gains $166 million in four weeks

Calisto is one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto.

As the frenzy returns to equity markets, shares in Karooooo Limited have risen recently by double digits due to sustained buying interest as investors bet on tech stocks trading at all-time lows.

Karooooo Limited is a mobility platform led by South African businessman Zak Calisto.

As a result of the recent market surge, the value of Calisto’s 74.7-percent stake in Karooooo has increased by $166 million in the past 27 days to well above $640 million.

Calisto, who founded Karooooo and grew it into an international provider of smart transportation management solutions, is one of South Africa’s wealthiest men and one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

As of press time on Aug. 10, the company’s shares were trading at $27.85 per share, up from their opening price of $26.98 per share earlier this week. The Singapore-based mobility platform’s market capitalization is presently $860 million.

The company’s shares have increased from a price of $20.65 to $27.85 at the time of writing this report, representing a 34.87-percent gain for patient investors since July 14.

The market value of Calisto’s shareholding in Karooooo has increased from $477.6 million on July 14 to $644.1 million at the time of writing, representing a $166-million gain for the tech tycoon.

The renewed buying interest in Karooooo’s shares can be attributed to investor reactions to the company’s double-digit increase in earnings in the first quarter of its 2023 fiscal year.

According to its recently published first quarter results, the Singapore-based global mobility SaaS platform’s profit increased by 44 percent to R156 million ($9.37 million), up from R108 million ($6.48 million) in the first quarter of 2022.

Earnings increased by double digits due to the higher revenue generated during the period, as the company’s total subscriber base surpassed 1.5 million, up from less than 1.4 million a year ago.

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South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s net worth slumps by $400 million as rand tumbles

Despite his declining net worth, Motsepe remains one of South Africa’s richest men.

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Patrice Motsepe. ©Billionaires.Africa

South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s net worth has plummeted by millions of dollars since the start of the year due to a decline in the value of the South African rand against the U.S. dollar.

The tumbling of South Africa’s national currency has significantly impacted the market value of Motsepe’s mining and financial services companies.

One of Africa’s richest businessmen and the wealthiest Black billionaire in Southern Africa, Motsepe has seen his net worth fall by $400 million since the year began — from $3.1 billion to $2.7 billion at the time of writing.

The majority of his net worth is derived from his 39.7-percent stake in African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), a South African mining company he founded in 1997. Motsepe also owns a substantial shareholding in Ubuntu-Botho Investments and African Rainbow Capital.

Motsepe’s stake in the mining firm, which has positions in a variety of mines including iron, coal, copper, gold, and other precious metals, was valued at $1.16 billion at the close of trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Tues., Aug. 9, significantly lower than its value of $1.3 billion at the start of this year.

His recent wealth loss puts him in the ranks of those African billionaires whose net worth has dropped by more than $300 million this year, including Ethiopia’s richest man Mohammed Al-Amoudi, South African billionaire Johann Rupert, Zimbabwean tech tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, and Swazi billionaire businessman Natie Kirsh.

The sharp depreciation of the rand, which has impacted the market valuation of his companies, most of which are based in South Africa, comes on the heels of a recent surge in demand for the U.S. dollar, as investors seek the safety of the greenback in an era of high economic uncertainty.

Despite his declining net worth, Motsepe remains not only one of South Africa’s richest men, but also one of the continent’s wealthiest billionaires.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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