Enlightened Christian Gathering church leader Prophet Bushiri and wife Mary spent the second night in the hands of the South African Police Directorate for the Hawks over allegations of R102 million investment fraud involving a company called Rising Estate.
The ECG head and wife will stay in jail at least until Friday when they reappear at Pretoria Magistrates Court court for bail application hearing.
A statement from the church's Communications Director Ephraim Nyondo said: “The Magistrate will rule on the postponement on Friday and possibly the bail hearing.”
On Wednesday the couple appeared before the Court for bail application and hearing with thousands of his followers camping outside.
The State formally requested to postpone the case while resisting bail.
Nyondo said in court Bushiri's lawyers opposed the State’s stance and demonstrated their readiness by submitting bail application affidavits.
“We are unhappy about what we feel is a weaponisation of the criminal justice system.
"The state reserves the right to arrest and prosecute but surely they cannot always arrest and then claim they are not ready to proceed,” reads part of the statement issued.
According to South Africa's City Press, in 2017 Bushiri told congregants they could earn a 50 percent profit within 30 days if they joined a “commodity investment opportunity”, with the minimum investment starting at R100,000.
The publication said church members flocked to invest and arrived at the church on the allotted days with cash, as advised. Those who could not deliver the cash were advised to deposit their investments with Rising Estates, run by Bushiri’s close associates.
City Press quoted multiple church members who claimed they invested in the scheme but had not received any returns.
Prophet Bushiri and his wife have vehemently stood by their innocence.
“It is our wish that the State proceeds with their cases without delay so that the truth comes out,” Nyondo said.