Court Ends Bushiris Criminal Review Case
The High Court in Lilongwe yesterday discontinued the criminal review proceedings against Prophet Shepard Bushiri and his wife Mary, following the state request to have the matter withdrawn to allow them concentrate on the extradition procedure.
The state applied to the High Court to review Principal Magistrate Viva Nyimba’s decision of 19 November which discharged the Bushiris on grounds their arrest was illegal.
In court on Tuesday, Director of Public Prosecutions Dr. Steven Kayuni told the court of the state's intention to withdraw the matter. He asked the court to withdraw the matter at its discretion saying that would benefit Malawians a lot as it would save taxpayers’ money and also the court's time.
“You should understand that the Court’s time is taxpayers’ time and the courts are clogged with so many issues. The fact that there is a criminal review which will be rendered negatory or academic does not make any sense,” said Dr. Kayuni.
Asked why they applied to the High Court to review the lower court’s decision in the first place only to withdraw it now, Dr. Kayuni said “at that particular time the government of South Africa had not sent a formal extradition process request for the two.”
Lawyer representing the Bushiris, Wapona Kita did not object to the case withdrawal request and Judge Fiona Mwale went on to discontinue the case. This means the decision by Principal Magistrate Nyimba still stands.
However, speaking to Zodiak online outside the court, Kita said they are ready to challenge the two fugitives’ extradition process in court.
“Upon reflecting of the whole matter, we felt it was wise that there is no need to object. So long as the decision of the magistrate remains valid and binding, that is okay with us.
We will wait until we are served with the extradition documents, and if that happens, we are prepared to challenge it in court,” said Kita.
The state has indicated it will soon commence extradition procedures for the couple after the minister of Homeland Security signed their extradition documents.
The couple is wanted in South Africa on fraud and money laundering offenses allegedly committed with two other people. They bolted from the rainbow nation citing security concerns.