Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe says Malawi Government is studying South Africa’s request to have fugitive Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary extradited to answer their alleged fraud and money laundering charges.
In an intervie w yesterday following a formal request from South Africa to have the Bushiris extradited after they handed themselves over to police on Wednesday morning, the chief government legal adviser said: “We have received a tentative request so we will look at the request itself and we will look at the laws of the land and then we will have to respond accordingly.”
But Silungwe did not indicate how long the South African request would be studied before providing their response.
In the wake of the Bushiris’ arrests in Lilongwe, South Africa submitted its formal request to government to start their formal extradition process.
In a WhatsApp response yesterday, South Africa’s Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams confirmed her country had formally written Malawi on the extradition process and that they expected the process to be expedited.
And in a statement issued yesterday on the South African Cabinet’s virtual meeting, she also indicated the expectation for Malawi to act on the matter effectively. issued yesterday on the South
Reads the statement in part: “Cabinet was satisfied with the manner in which the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Safety Cluster has handled the matter and the cluster will update the public on the developments regarding this matter. Extradition processes have been initiated.”
Meanwhile, the Bushiris have forfeited their R5.5 million (about K269.9 million) property at Midstream Estate in Centurion, South Africa following their failure to present themselves at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
While the Bushiris were applying for bail at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court, they were also expected to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court as part of their bail conditions in their fraud and money laundering case.
Several South Af r ican media outlets reported that the property was forfeited following their escape from the country last week in violation of their bail conditions.
The reports indicated that while their two co-accused— Willah Mudolo and Zethu Mudolo—presented themselves before the court, magistrate Thandi Theledi asked for the Bushiris to be called three times at the hearing. However, it transpired that the couple was not in court.
Repor ted eNCA: “The couple’s legal team in South Africa said they were not informed of their movements and only know what they have seen in the media.
“The magistrate ruled that the Bushiris have forfeited their property which was tied to their bail to the State.”
On Tuesday, South Africa Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi told a Parliament Portfolio Committee in his country that the prophet and his wife have five passports each that were issued in Malawi.
But Malawi Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services spokesperson Joseph Chauwa and Bushiri’s spokesperson Ephraim
Nyondo dismissed Motsoaledi’s assertions.
When asked to validate Motsoaledi’s assertions on Wednesday, Williams said it would be better if such claims would be checked with the country’s immigration department.
The Bushiris are alleged to have fled South Africa last week, days after they were granted bail in a fraud and money laundering case of about R102 million (about K4.2 billion).
As part of their bail conditions, they were also barred from travelling outside the country and were told to visit only two provinces.
But on Saturday, Bushiri, in a televised broadcast on privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station, said he was in the country to engage Malawian authorities to intervene in his situation, adding he cannot get a fair trial in South Africa