Lamola: Bushiris are guaranteed a fair trial in SA
During a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said they intend sending extradition papers to Malawi for the Bushiris within the next two weeks.
CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola is convinced that self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and wife, Mary, will return to South Africa to stand trial.
During a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Lamola said that they intend sending extradition papers to Malawi for the Bushiris within the next two weeks.
“We want these papers to be sent within the next two weeks because we understand the urgency of the matter and upon sending the documents, we will then liaise with our colleagues in Malawi about the process.”
The couple fled South Africa for their home country last week after they were granted bail of R200,000 each.
They are charged with fraud, theft and money laundering involving R102 million.
They handed themselves over to Malawian authorities and appeared in a local court in that country on Thursday where they were released from custody.
Lamola said that the couple's claim that they won't get a fair trial in South Africa was not true.
“They are guaranteed a fair trial in our country. Our processes have been tested over time. Our guarantee of a fair trial is not in dispute in the judicial system in our country, which has proven to be resilient and also proven to be fair, free and without any influence from anyone.”
HOME SALE CAN OFFSET COST OF EXTRADITION
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority said that the Bushiris' multi-million rand home could be auctioned off, with the funds being used to offset costs incurred during the couple's extradition process.
The fugitives have forfeited the property after failing to appear in a Pretoria court this week.
The Bushiris have managed to hang onto their freedom in Malawi after the Lilongwe Magistrates Court ruled on Thursday that their arrest in that country was illegal.
However, the NPA said that the judgment would not affect the couple’s corruption trial in South Africa.
The fugitives absconded in contravention of their bail conditions in SA which led to the permanent forfeiture of their R5.5 million mansion in Centurion.
With concerns the pair’s extradition could dent South Africa's fiscus, the NPA’s Sipho Ngwema said technically, money from auctioning off the luxury home could be helpful.
“In the end, that money goes to the state and the state will use it as it deems fit.”
The Bushiris maintain they’ve done nothing wrong and want to clear their names.