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SA Company demands over K100million from Bushiri for unpaid office rentals bills

A Pretoria-based company has joined the long queue of entities seeking to liquidate the Shepherd Bushiri Ministries in South Africa in a move to recover R1 million [K100million] he owes.

According to City Press newspaper, PPS Property Fund Trust has opted for litigation after Prophet Shepherd Bushiri allegedly breached a lease agreement for his Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church premises in Hatfield in Pretoria, which served as his headquarters.

The company, a trust controlled by PPS Insurance, approached the office of the Master of the High Court in Johannesburg last month to obtain an order that could see Bushiri’s assets auctioned off.

In court documents filed on 21 May this year, City Press reports, PPS cited that Bushiri had signed a settlement deed binding him to pay R1 095 801 and an additional R995 707 for contractual damages in 2022.

The documents read:“The defendant [Shepherd Bushiri Ministries] shall be liable to repay the settlement indebtedness without deduction or set off and free of commission and bank costs as follows: consecutive monthly payments of no less than R70 000 on or before the first day of each consecutive month, commencing on 1 March 2022.”

The company also noted that Bushiri had failed to make the payments, which was in breach of the terms of their agreement.

“The trust’s endeavour to collect the undisputed indebtedness has a protracted history. This involves a variety of execution attendances, as well as diligent and persistent engagement with Shepherd Bushiri Ministries. This was in an attempt to expedite resolve in the quest to avoiding further process or liquidation proceedings, all such attendances and engagement presenting to no avail.”

PPS also highlighted that Bushiri had been aware of the defaults because this was communicated to him and the process needed to remedy the situation.

“The respondent is commercially insolvent insofar as it is unable to settle its creditors. As and when required to do so, the respondent presents as unable to make and conclude management decisions, as it is required to do.“

The respondent’s conduct presents a total disregard for the interests of the creditors and, particularly, the claim of the trust as underlined in these proceedings.

”The papers add that PPS had exhausted all reasonable attempts to engage with Bushiri in a fair process for him to settle its debt. The company also lamented that it sought to wind up Bushiri’s assets as a primary measure to recoup its losses.”

It further reads:“It is observed that this is an application for forced winding up of [the assets of] the respondent. The trust, accordingly, does not have the benefit of true transparency and cooperation on the respondent’s part. Preliminary investigation has illustrated that the respondent is the owner of several unbonded properties.”

PPS listed Bushiri’s registered properties as in Blue Hills in Johannesburg and Waterkloof in Pretoria.

Last December, City Press reported that the Johannesburg High Court had ordered the sequestration of Bushiri’s assets to recover the R200 million he owed to JM Busha Investment Group in loans.

In addition, last year the SA Revenue Service demanded more than R70 million in unpaid taxes.

Bushiri made headlines in November 2021 when he and his wife Mary fled South Africa to Malawi after he was granted bail by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court, facing charges of money laundering and fraud.

He is accused of orchestrating a ponzi scheme which allegedly targeted pension funds.

A year after their escape, former home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that the department had suspend five officials implicated in his fraudulent permanent residence permits.

Former justice and correctional service minister Ronald Lamola said they were still pursuing the Bushiris extradition.

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