Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is adamant that he’s not running away from his trial in South Africa but that he and his wife Mary bolted out of the rainbow nation to travel back home in Malawi to seek intervention from his home country.
South African government says it has commenced an extradition process for the two following their alleged escape.
In a statement, South Africa’s Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said Bushiri and his wife have to face justice in their fraud and money laundering crimes they are alleged to have committed.
The describes Bushiri and his wife as fugitives.
But Bushiri claimed he was not fleeing prosecution, arguing he had left South Africa in fear for his life as “there have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed”.
Bushiri told his supporters through Facebook in a live broadcast that he would be handing himself to the law enforcement agencies in Malawi on Monday.
“I have also instructed my lawyers that on Monday they should make an urgent application in the courts of South Africa that my bail must not be revoked because I’ve only come here to seek the intervention of the government of Malawi that they should consider these issues as they will lead to a fair trial,” he said.
There was speculation in South African media that Bushiri could have left the country on the jet of Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, who visited South Africa last week.
But South Africa’s Cabinet spokesperson, in a statement, cleared such speculations.
Chakwera’s plane was delayed as he was to depart from South Africa when authorities tried to verify identities of all passengers on board.
Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda saon Sunday also denied Chakwera had a hand in Bushiri’s return.
“Bushiri never travelled with the presidential entourage,” he said.
South Africa Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motoaledi has said the rest of government are still puzzled as to how the Bushiris managed to leave South Africa.
Motsoaledi said that without any register of the Bushiris leaving the country, the only explanation was that they crossed the border illegally.
The Sunday World newspaper of South Africa reported that the Enlighted Christian Gathering (ECG( Church leader escaped after catching a whiff of his third imminent arrest.
The paper reported that that the Pretoria High Court had reserved judgment on Friday after the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) approached it to overturn the decision of the Pretoria magistrate’s court that prohibited it to force the duo to make representations within 30 days regarding their permanent residency in South Africa.
Bushiris’ lawyer, Ntsako Baloyi, confirmed in quotes reported by the paper that the Home Affairs appeal hearing was heard in the Pretoria High Court on Friday.
“I can confirm the case was heard on Friday, but I’m not prepared to discuss its merit at the moment,” he said. DHA spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza said “Bushiri rushed to Court to ask that he not be asked to respond to DHA until he appears in Court in May 2021 on a criminal charge of fraud, corruption and money laundering.”
South Africa’s Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said on Twitter the authorities “will find Bushiri” and hold him to account.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :