Four lawyers withdraw from fugitive Bushiris’ bail bid in Malawi
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Rustenburg – Four lawyers have withdrawn from representing fraud accused Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, in a bail bid in a Malawian court, local media reported.
News website Nyasa Times reported Bushiri initially enlisted the services of four private lawyers – Lusungu Gondwe, Noel Chalamanda, Bright Theu and Khumbo Soko – to bring his bail application.
Why they withdrew from the Bushiri case is unclear.
Wapona Kita, believed to be one of the best lawyers in Malawi, will represent them when they bring their bail application at the Lilongwe Magistrate's Court.
Kita told Rainbow Television the couple were expected to be in court for their bail application and hearing on Thursday. The television station reported hundreds of Malawians held a night vigil outside Lingadzi police station in Lilongwe, where the couple spent their first night in custody.
The couple handed themselves over to the police in Lilongwe on Wednesday after warrants for their arrest were issued in South Africa on Tuesday. They left South Africa in mysterious circumstances and fled to their home country, Malawi, claiming they feared for their safety.
The leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering church and his wife are facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in South Africa.
They were each released on R200 000 bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on November 4 after their arrest in October.
As part of their bail conditions they were only allowed to travel within South Africa’s Gauteng and North West provinces until the case was finalised. The couple own a hotel in Rustenburg in North West.
Their bail was revoked and a warrant of arrest issued.
Bushiri said he believed in the constitution of Malawi because it protected every citizen, including him and his wife, and that was why he fled to Malawi.
"I am innocent until proven guilty. As of now, there is no court in the world that has proven me guilty. I may be subjected by media and public trial but I maintain my innocence until proven guilty," he said in a statement addressed to members of the Southern African Development Community.
African News Agency (ANA)