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Lamola: Processes in place for extradition of Bushiris

Self-proclaimed prophet Shepard Bushiri and his wife Mary fled to Malawi last week after they were granted bail of R200,000 each while facing charges of fraud and money laundering.

Pastor Shepherd Bushiri, his wife, Mary, and one of his co-accused appear in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on 4 November 2020. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said processes were in place to have Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary extradited from Malawi.

Lamola made the remarks while presenting the political overview on his department’s performance in Parliament on Friday.

Bushiri and his wife Mary fled to Malawi last week after they were granted bail of R200,000 each while facing charges of fraud and money laundering.

Cabinet has this week received a briefing on the escape of the couple.

Lamola was again quizzed by MPs on what efforts were in place to have them extradited.

“Ultimately, minister, this is an issue that erodes public confidence in the justice system as a whole and you are one of the primary custodians of our justice system,” said DA MP Werner Horn.

Lamola said the matter was receiving attention.

“The issue of the high-profile people escaping the country has been raised. We have put processes in place, chairperson. As you would remember last year when we were here, you asked us about the same issue.”

On Thursday the Lilongwe Magistrates Court in Malawi ruled that the arrest of the Bushiris 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.

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

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”.

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

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

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.

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.

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