Prosecutors in Malawi intend to appeal the court ruling that led to the release of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.
Magistrate Viva Nyimba had ruled in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court on Thursday that the Bushiris should be released without bail because their arrest in Malawi was illegal.
Nyimba deemed the arrest illegal since the warrant had not been channelled through the Ministry of Homeland Security.
The couple fled to their home country last week, in contravention of their bail conditions, while standing trial on fraud and money laundering charges amounting to R102 million.
Malawian Information Minister Gospel Kazako told News24 on Friday: ’’We are going to appeal the ruling, the State did not agree with the ruling of the lower court. The director of public prosecutions will be filing an appeal in the High Court.’’
For the papers to be filed, Kazako added, Malawi needed to receive all the necessary formal documents from the South African government.
’’The South African prosecutors, what they sent is just tentative. The papers that are expected we have not received all of them in totality.’’
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said on Thursday filing the extradition papers could take about two weeks.
While presenting the political overview on his department’s performance in Parliament on Friday, Lamola reiterated that processes were in place to have Bushiri and his wife extradited from Malawi, EWN reported.
DA MP Werner Horn quizzed Lamola on what efforts were in place to have the Bushiris extradited, saying: “Ultimately, minister, this is an issue that erodes public confidence in the justice system as a whole and you are one of the primary custodians of our justice system.”
Lamola told MPs: “The issue of the high-profile people escaping the country has been raised. We have put processes in place, chairperson. As you would remember last year when we were here, you asked us about the same issue.”
The National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed a decision by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to have the couple’s multimillion-rand mansion in Centurion forfeited to the State after they failed to appear for their corruption trial.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the luxurious home would be placed on auction.