A court in Malawi on Monday ruled that witnesses in the extradition matter of the self-proclaimed prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, may testify in South Africa.
The Bushiris skipped bail and unlawfully left South Africa while facing charges of money laundering and fraud.
South African authorities initiated an extradition process, but the matter had somewhat stalled over sending witnesses from SA to Malawi.
On Monday, Dr. Steven Kayuni, the director of public prosecution said a court in Malawi had agreed that witnesses in the matter could testify before any competent court in South Africa and the testimonies.
He said once the testimonies were obtained they would be sent to Malawi via diplomatic channels.
The self-proclaimed prophet told followers soon after he fled South Africa that he feared for his life.
Bushiri and his wife – through their lawyer Wapona Kita, have been arguing that the South African witnesses had to be physically in court in Malawi to testify in their extradition case.
But Kayuni successfully applied to have the witnesses testify in South Africa.
Kayuni argued that South Africa has competent courts that can record testimonies to be used in Malawi.
“Today, Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza, has ruled that South African witnesses in the extradition case can testify before a South African court whose testimonies will be sent to Malawi to continue the preliminary hearing,” reports Malawi24 reports.
“However, Chimwaza, in her ruling has since referred the matter to the High Court so that if it deems fit, it can make an order that a competent court in South Africa can physically examine the witnesses.”
Malawi24 reports that Bushiri said he was looking forward to the appearance of witnesses in court.
“Witnesses have been ordered to appear before a court in SA and let’s hope this time for the first time, in four years they will show up,” Bushiri wrote on Facebook.
The fugitive couple left behind their property in South Africa that included a private jet, luxury vehicles, a hotel and houses that have since been seized by the authorities.
To this day the Bushiris escape from South Africa last December 2020 remains a mystery.
Bushiri, who is the spiritual leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG), alleged at the time that there is no possibility of a fair trial in South Africa.
However, the Covid-19 lockdowns and the witness attendance stood in the way of the extradition process.
The Malawi court ruling on Monday clears the way for the extradition of the ECG leader and his spouse’s court process to proceed.