Malawi Justice Redson Kapindu on Tuesday ordered the Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court to proceed with extradition proceedings involving Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.
The fugitive pair is wanted in South Africa for money laundering and fraud.
The self-proclaimed prophet and his wife are accused of fraud, theft, and money laundering in an investment scam that allegedly defrauded investors to the tune of R102 million.
In addition, Bushiri faces eight counts of rape.
The Bushiris and their co-accused were released by a South African court on bail in June last year before the couple made their escape to their home country Malawi.
Speaking to supporters on social media soon after his arrival in Malawi, Bushiri said his decision to skip bail was “a tactical withdrawal meant to preserve lives”.
The state had also presented the court with a conundrum over the requirement for a South African official to travel all the way to Malawi to present the extradition request.
Dealing with this issue, which had also stalled the matter, Judge Kapindu made alternative suggestions.
He suggested that the matter could be resolved by having virtual testimony from the South African official as had become the norm during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alternatively, a competent South African court could hear the testimony and forward it to the Malawi high court.
Known for his lavish lifestyle and preference for slick suits, 38-year-old Bushiri is often described as one of the wealthiest religious leaders in Africa with a fortune estimated at R2.3 billion.
His possessions reportedly include private jets, a fleet of luxury cars, and various properties – some of which have since been seized by South African authorities.