The State lawyers have filed to the High Court for a review of the decision by the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court to unconditionally release prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri wanted by South Africa on money laundering, theft and fraud charges after they jumped bail.
Bushiri was unconditionally released by principal resident magistrate Viva Nyimba in Lilongwe last week following his arrest by local police for crimes he allegedly committed in South Africa.
The couple had handed themselves over to Malawi police but the Magistrate court called their arrest unlawful because the international warrant of arrest issued by South Africa had not passed through the relevant government ministry.
Spokesperson for Ministry of Justice Pilirani Masanjala confirmed that High Court has set Tuesday December 1 2020 as the day ti hear the application for the State to have the Magistrate’s decision to release the couple reversed.
Bushiri’s lawyer Wapona Kita said they have received “partial documents” and they are waiting to get “full disclosurers on the matter so we can reply.”
A total of five warrants of arrest have been issued by South Africa for Bushiri and his wife Mary since they fled the country. Two of the warrants are related to fraud and theft charges, and the other three to three separate rape cases against the youthful prophet.
Bushiri, the multimillionaire leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, commands a large following in a number of African countries – in South Africa alone, the church has more than one million followers.
Known for his lavish lifestyle and preference for slick suits, Bushiri is often described as one of the wealthiest religious leaders in Africa. His fortune is estimated at $150million and his possessions reportedly include private jet, luxury cars and various properties.
Born in humble circumstances in Malawi’s northern district of Rumphi and spending his childhood in the nearby city of Mzuzu, Bushiri claims he had a spiritual encounter with a supernatural power at the age of 10 that led him to devote his life in the service of God.
Bushiri founded ECG Church in 2010 in Malawi before moving its headquarters to the South African capital, Pretoria.