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Malawi court rules the Bushiris’ arrest was illegal, orders their release

According to local media, Magistrate Viva Nyimba made the ruling based solely on the legality of the couple’s arrest in that country and not their impending case in South Africa.

FILE: Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary. Picture: facebook.com/shepherdbushiriministries

JOHANNESBURG - The Lilongwe Magistrates Court in Malawi on Thursday ruled that the arrest of Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, was illegal and ordered the pair be released from custody with no conditions.

According to local media, Magistrate Viva Nyimba made the ruling based solely on the legality of the couple’s arrest in that country and not their impending case in South Africa.

It has been days since the pair fled South Africa undetected in contravention of strict bail conditions.

ALSO READ: Shepherd and Mary Bushiri can run, but they can’t hide - NPA

They are facing fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges, but magistrate Nyimba said the couple’s corruption trial would only be considered once papers for their extradition were processed.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday said Bushiri and his wife should be brought back to South Africa in what it called a “good time”.

The NPA welcomed a decision by the Pretoria Magistrates Court to have the couple’s multi-million-rand mansion forfeited to the State after they failed to appear for their corruption trial.

READ: Hawks confirm more arrest warrants issued against Bushiris

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said they were confident South Africa’s legal processes would secure their return.

“The NPA welcomes the decision of the court to forfeit the property to the State given the fact that the property was a guarantee that the accused have put in terms of their bail conditions. They have contravened their bail conditions and therefore as part of the process, they have to forfeit that property,” Ngwema said.

The Bushiris maintain they have done nothing wrong and claim they fled to their home country for safety reasons and because they were worried they would not get a fair trial.

With Cabinet saying it would file extradition papers to the Malawian authorities soon, questions were raised around if the couple would ever face the music.

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