Bushiri lawyer asks for recusal of Malawian magistrate in extradition matter

The fugitive couple appeared briefly in the magistrates court in Lilongwe on Monday afternoon but the matte has been postponed to next Monday.

FILE: Pastor Shepherd Bushiri (R), also known as Prophet Bushiri from the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), stands on stage while his wife, Mary Bushiri, speaks to worshippers during the United Prayers Crossover at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on 1 January 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The extradition hearing for self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, in Malawi, has been postponed to next Monday.

The Bushiris' legal team made an application for the recusal of the magistrate in the case, citing “evidence bias”.

The fugitive couple appeared briefly in the magistrates court in Lilongwe on Monday afternoon.

The charismatic preacher and his wife are wanted in South Africa for alleged fraud and money-laundering, among other charges.

READ: Malawi govt signs extradition papers for Bushiris to return to SA

A warrant of arrest was filed against the pair after they violated bail conditions and fled South Africa for Malawi in November last year.

The highly-anticipated extradition hearing against th Bushiris was expected to begin in court in Malawi today.

However, the couple, through their lawyer Wapona Kita, launched an application for the recusal of Magistrate Patrick Chirwa.

ALSO READ: Minister Pandor denies her department helped Bushiri escape SA

It’s understood that the Bushiris' lawyer was taken by surprise after the court failed to inform them that Chirwa would be presiding over the case.

Kita said that Chirwa was the same magistrate who issued a warrant of arrest against the Bushiris in November and should therefore not handle the extradition matter.

The couple were arrested in South Africa after allegedly scamming congregants of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church out of over R100 million.

Should the extradition application be granted next week, the Bushiris will have to return to South Africa to face charges.

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