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The SA Reserve Bank has seized a quarter of a million rand in cash from Mary Bushiri


Mary Bushiri and her husband, Shepherd Bushiri. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images)

  • Mary Bushiri is a quarter of a million rand poorer.
  • The SA Reserve Bank on Thursday published a notification that it had seized R225,680.92 from her account at Nedbank.
  • The forfeiture is under broad exchange control powers, often used to grab the cash of those who fail to adhere to the rules about cross-border currency flows.
  • The cash now belongs to the nation, as of Thursday.
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Self-styled prophetess Mary Bushiri has lost a quarter of a million rand in South Africa, through a state seizure of cash in an account in Nedbank.

The SA Reserve Bank published a notice of the forfeit action in the Government Gazette on Thursday

That means the cash – a sum of R225,680.92 – immediately goes into South Africa’s national revenue fund, the account into which all money received by the state is paid.

The forfeiture is under powers granted to the minister of finance, and then delegated to the Reserve Bank, to enforce exchange control regulations. Under one rule, Exchange Control Regulation 22B, the SARB has broad powers to seize money if it suspects a contravention of the requirements for moving money into and out of South Africa.

That allowed deputy Reserve Bank governor Kuben Naidoo to declare Bushiri’s money the property of South Africa. 

Such seizures of cash are not uncommon, and can be for substantially higher sums, though it is often trading companies rather than individuals targeted through such enforcement.

Bushiri and her husband Shepherd are fighting extradition from Malawi to face charges in South Africa for fraud and money laundering amounting to more than R100 million. They are expected to appear again in court, in Malawi, at the end of the month.

Shepherd Bushiri, leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), also faces charges of rape.

The couple were out on bail when they fled from South Africa, in what they later said had been fear for their lives.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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