Rustenburg – The extradition hearing against self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, is expected to begin in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court in Malawi on Monday.
The charismatic preacher and his wife are wanted in South Africa on fraud and money-laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at about $7 million (about R107 million).
The couple were arrested in South Africa, but after being granted bail they fled to Malawi, claiming they were not safe in South Africa.
As part of their bail conditions in South Africa they were only allowed to travel within Gauteng and North West provinces until the case had been finalised.
The couple own a hotel in Rustenburg in North West.
They handed themselves over to the police in Malawi after a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol.
Lilongwe magistrate Viva Nyimba released them unconditionally, stating that their arrest was unlawful because there was no formal request from South Africa.
Director of Public Prosecutions in Malawi Steven Kayuni filed an application in the Lilongwe High Court to appeal against Nyimba’s ruling to release the couple unconditionally but withdrew the application after South Africa formally requested the couple’s extradition.
The couple are facing charges of theft, fraud, forgery and failing to comply with bail conditions in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday, bemoaning the arrest of his lawyers in South Africa, Bushiri said he left South Africa because he was certain that with the current Hawks investigating team handling his case, he would not receive a fair trial.
He said the arrest of his lawyers was a ploy to intimidate South African lawyers from representing him.
“As things stand I am not certain whether attorneys in South Africa will continue to represent me, fearing unlawful arrest and detention. I must add that this is the third time my lawyers are detained wrongfully and unlawfully,” Bushiri said.
African News Agency (ANA)