Malawi prosecutors to appeal court ruling that led to the release of the Bushiris

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Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary (in red).
Self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary (in red).
PHOTO: Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images
  • The State in Malawi will appeal the court ruling that led to the release of the Bushiris.
  • According to their lawyer, a magistrate found their arrests were unlawful.
  • The couple is wanted in South Africa in connection with a fraud and money laundering case, in the amount of R102 million.

Prosecutors in Malawi are going to appeal a lower court ruling that led to the immediate release of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, Malawian Information Minister Gospel Kazako confirmed 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," he told News24 on Friday. 

READ | Malawi court orders the immediate release of the Bushiris, says lawyer

The couple was released after Magistrate Viva Nyimba in his ruling on Thursday said, among other things, their arrests by the Malawi Police Service were unlawful because it was not channelled through the Ministry of Homeland Security, News24 reported.

Kazako added that, for the papers to be filed, Malawi needed to receive all the necessary formal documents in totality from the South African government.

SA submission 'tentative'

"The South African prosecutors, what they sent is just tentative. The papers that are expected we have not received all of them in totality.

"If the appeal is to be made with totality, we need a comprehensive submission of all the documents from South Africa," he added.

Bushiri's lawyer in Malawi, Wapona Kita, told News24 on Thursday that he "had no information".

READ | Bushiris barred from using sermons to threaten witnesses as part of bail conditions in fraud case 

When probed on the Bushiris' alleged diplomatic status and how that weighs up against the laws in Malawi, Kita responded: "Regarding the effect of their diplomatic status, we will wait and see when the time comes for the extradition hearing."

News24 earlier reported that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks have been given two weeks to finalise the formal extradition request, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said on Thursday.

Facing charges

The Bushiris, Landiwe Ntlokwana, Zethu Mudolo and Willie Mudolo are facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering to the tune of R102 million.

The couple allegedly arrived in Malawi last Wednesday, and then made an announcement via various social media platforms on Saturday.

Bushiri claimed he did not feel safe in South Africa and feared he would not be afforded a fair trial.

In addition, he also made several demands to the South African government, News24 reported.

This is a developing story.

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