Malawi court to rule on SA witnesses in Shepherd Bushiri extradition hearing
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Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, will know on Tuesday whether State witnesses from South Africa will testify in person in their extradition case.
According to radio station Capital FM Malawi, Magistrate Patrick Chirwa reserved judgment on Friday, after the State applied for the witnesses to testify via video and not to be physically present in court.
He was expected to deliver judgment on the matter on Tuesday, at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court.
The defence opposed the application stating that the application lacked legal basis.
The State cited Covid-19 as one of the reasons why the witnesses were not physically present in court, suggesting the use of video conferencing services like Zoom, Skype or google meet.
On Friday, Bushiri said he was disappointment that the witnesses could not appear in court in person and rubbished the State's argument for not bringing the witnesses to court.
The charismatic preacher and his wife are wanted in South Africa on fraud and money laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at R100 million.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leaders were arrested in South Africa but, after being granted bail, fled to Malawi claiming they were not safe 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 they were only allowed to travel within Gauteng and North West until the case was finalised. The couple own a hotel in Rustenburg in North West.
They handed themselves to the police in Malawi after a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol.
Lilongwe Magistrate Viva Nyimba released them unconditionally stating that their arrest in Malawi was unlawful because there was no formal request from South Africa.
He ruled that the couple could only be summoned to court and not arrested.
Pretoria has since formally requested Lilongwe to send back the couple to stand trial on charges of theft, fraud, forgery, as well as failing to comply with bail conditions in South Africa.
African News Agency (ANA)