The Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Lilongwe has set July 11 2022 to make a ruling on whether or not to allow witnesses in the extradition case involving Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary to present their testimonies in South Africa or physically come to Malawi.
The court yesterday heard arguments from both the defense and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni on a fresh application by the State filed on behalf of the South African government arguing that it is expensive to bring and accommodate the witnesses in Malawi.
The State also argues that some of the witnesses are rape and assault victims who will require psychological counseling as well as to be accompanied by close relatives throughout the preliminary inquiry for moral support saying this would be costly and it was impractical to hire psychologists in Malawi as they are few.
However Bushiri’s lawyer Wapona Kita challenged the application on the basis that the issue was already dealt with by the same court in its ruling on June 8 2021 in which it ruled that the reasons were not convincing enough.
Said Kita in an interview: “The application from South Africa is concentrating on sexual offenses witnesses and yet the extradition case is more than that as it involves other offenses such as money laundering, forgery, theft, fraud whose witnesses have nothing to do with the concerns raised by the alleged rape victims. Hence the application is just being used as a scapegoat to avoid all witnesses coming to Malawi.”
Oh his part, Kayuni said rape and assault victim witnesses are delicate people and there is a special way of handling such cases.
Said Kayuni: “The application before court is that the matter be referred to the High Court for the court to consider making an order to the government of South Africa that a competent court there can make deposition of testimony of witnesses and that deposition should be sent here for the honourable court to consider it.”
Chief resident magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza has since given both sides seven days to make preliminary objections.