Court Frees the Bushiris
The Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate Court has freed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, who are wanted for offenses committed in South Africa, saying the couple’s arrest did not follow procedure.
In his ruling after hearing submissions from state lawyer Dr. Steven Kayuni and defense lawyer Wapona Kita, Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba said the Bushiris arrest in the first place was illegal.
“Although the State says police acted on what was required of them, the arrest was illegal because there was no warrant of arrest from court or authority from minister of Homeland Security to necessitate their arrest,” Nyimba said.
The Bushiris appeared in court on Thursday afternoon, after spending a night in a police cell at Lumbadzi Police Station, where they were told the reason for their arrest.
The state represented by Dr. Kayuni said the Bushiris had not contravened any laws in Malawi but because there was a warrant of arrest in South Africa issued to the Interpol, Malawi Police was compelled to act.
But defense lawyer Kita asked the court to discharge the couple urging the State had no case against them.
Principal Resident Magistrate Nyimba also dismissed the State application to have the Bushiris detained for 30 days to allow them to complete communication with their South African counterpart.
Dr. Kayuni in his submission on this said since the Bushiris jumped bail in South Africa, they would also do the same in Malawi if not happy with the conditions.
We pray that the court should remand the two fugitives for 30 days as we finalize communication with South African authorities who are making formal request for the extradition process.
The Bushiris lawyer Kita objected to the State request, saying his clients the detention was illegal.
The court, therefore, ruled that the fact that the Bushiris voluntarily handed themselves to police is an indication they would comply with further legal proceedings.
Speaking outside the court, after their release, Bushiri reiterated his earlier claims that their lives were at risk in South Africa hence their escape to Malawi.
The Bushiris are fugitives in South Africa where, alongside two other people, they are answering alleged fraud and money laundering charges.