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South Africa waiting on Malawi court to rule on Bushiri extradition

The South African authoririties still want to extradite self-proclaimed prophet Sheperd Bushiri and his wife, Mary. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency (ANA)

The South African authoririties still want to extradite self-proclaimed prophet Sheperd Bushiri and his wife, Mary. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 8, 2021

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Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says the department is waiting for the court in Malawi to decide whether witnesses from South Africa could testify via video link in the case of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri.

Bushiri and his wife, Mary, fled South Africa late last year after being charged with serious financial crimes.

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South Africa has been trying to extradite the pair in line with Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocols and other extradition measures.

But Bushiri has opposed the extradition process in his home country Malawi, saying he will not get a fair hearing in South Africa.

But authorities have assured him that he will go through a fair court process.

Bushiri and his wife were arrested with three other alleged accomplices on fraud charges amounting to more than R100 million.

Lamola said the extradition process was in the hands of the court in Malawi after it was heard in July.

“The extradition proceedings against Shepherd Huxley Bushiri and Mary Bushiri (the Bushiris) commenced on the 8th March 2021 before the Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe, Malawi. During these proceedings, counsel for the Bushiris brought a number of preliminary applications relating to the following issues: The Magistrate should recuse himself from the proceedings,” the justice minister said.

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“This application was dismissed. The State is using SADC Protocol when it is not law in Malawi. This application was dismissed. The State should furnish counsel for the Bushiris with the transcript of the bail hearing of the Bushiris in South Africa. This application was successful. The State has since complied with the order. The various witnesses of the State of South Africa should appear in person in the extradition proceedings in order to authenticate documents and sign depositions. This application was successful.

“Counsel for the Bushiris applied for the review of all applications that were dismissed. The High Court dismissed the application without a hearing. The State made an application to the Chief Resident’s Magistrate Court for the review of the decision regarding witnesses, and asked the court to order that witnesses must appear through video conferencing or link. The court dismissed the application. The State then applied for a review in the High Court of the order of the Chief Resident’s Magistrate Court regarding witnesses. The review was argued in court on 21 July 2021. The High Court directed both parties to file submissions on whether the State witnesses from South Africa could testify via video link. The matter has since been adjourned pending the delivery of the order on a date to be communicated by the court through the office of the Registrar,” Lamola added.

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