Magistrate Patrick Chirwa has adjourned extradition hearing involving Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri to Monday March 15 2021 to give defence lawyers time to prepare application of his recusal.
The legal team for the preacher wanted the magistrate hearing the matter to recuse himself as he had also earlier issued a warrant of arrest against the Bushiris.
Bushiri’s lawyer, Wapona Kita, told Nyasa Times that though they were ready with the case, they were surprised to learn that there is a new magistrate sitting on the case and he happens to be the one who issued a contentious warrant of arrest for his clients.
“We believe this magistrate will likely be biased, as such we are making an application for him to recuse himself,” he said.
Though the State, through director of public prosecution Steve Kayuni objected Kita’s argument calling it baseless, magistrate Chirwa ruled in favour of the defence and adjourned the matter to March 15.
The hearing comes after a warrant of arrest was issued for the couple after they left South Africa to their home country last year, contravening their bail conditions.
The senior leaders of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church were arrested in October on charges of fraud, money laundering and theft.
In January, Malawi’s Ministry of Justice spokesperson, Pirirani Masanjala, said the court had ordered that the extradition hearing kick off in March after the court had issued summons for the two, considered fugitives in South Africa.
The story of Bushiri’s “great escape” from South Africa still features in public discourse.
Vocally criticised by many people in South Africa, particularly on social media, Bushiri commands unparalleled praise and adoration from his legion of followers.
As a precursor to the high-stakes Bushiri extradition hearing, in South Africa last week, the Hawks said Bushiri’s legal representatives were arrested and taken to court, but their matter was not enrolled.
Bushiri lamented that his instructing attorney in South Africa and legal adviser were “unlawfully” detained by the Hawks.
“On Monday, with deep shock and sadness, I learnt about how the Hawks, for eight hours, unlawfully detained my instructing attorney, Mr Terrance Baloyi,and my legal adviser, Mr Alvin Khosa,” said the preacher.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :