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Millionaire African preacher faces fraud charges

'Prophet' Shepherd Bushiri is alleged to have taken cases of cash out of South Africa on one of his private jets.

Bushiri, 35, has amassed a personal fortune of £120 million, which he calls 'miracle money', since he established his Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) churches across Africa.

He appeared with his wife, Mary at court in Johannesburg while hundreds of followers protested and prayed in tongues outside.

The couple were arrested at an exclusive hotel in Johannesburg.

They were granted bail of £5,600 each and made to surrender their passports. They strongly deny the allegations.

Bushiri who is also known as 'Major 1' was born into poverty in northern Malawi and has built a business empire which includes mines, property, hotels and four private planes.

He told the BBC, "My success should inspire people to be entrepreneurs. I am a businessman and that is separate from being a prophet. My prosperity is from private businesses. Such questions are not
asked from leaders of white churches but when an African man prospers, it's a problem."

ECG's compound in Pretoria has congregations of more than 40,000 every Sunday.

According to The Times, as the couple were brought to court, followers sprayed police cars with his 'miracle oil' which costs £10 a bottle The oil is marketed at the churches alongside vials labelled 'the blood of Jesus'.

Bushiri's ministry of one of a number of similar mega-churches that have been established in South Africa in recent years.

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