Sheperd and Mary Bushiri taken into custody in Malawi

Shepherd Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightened Church Christian Gathering, and wife his Mary have been taken into custody in Malawi, according to reports in that country.
Shepherd Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightened Church Christian Gathering, and wife his Mary have been taken into custody in Malawi, according to reports in that country.
Image: File

Authorities in Malawi say the government was compelled to arrest  fugitive couple Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary after Interpol in Pretoria sent an alert for the couple to be arrested.

Malawi minister of information Gospel Kazako  said the couple, who fled SA  last week, were  in police custody.

Speaking to eNCA on Wednesday, Kazako said: "He [Bushiri] is in police custody and he will be appearing in court soon. Malawi is founded on the rule of law. Interpol in Pretoria indicated what we needed to have done and we looked at our laws and decided to act,” Kazako said.

Asked whether the Bushiris would be extradited to SA, Kazako said: “Everything will be done by using the law and common sense. When we arrested him [Bushiri], we wanted to do things right. We have responded to Interpol and now the courts will come in.” 

The Bushiris fled SA for their home country Malawi last week while facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100m  investment scheme.

They had been released on R200,000 bail each earlier this month.

They confirmed their escape on Facebook on Saturday morning. On Monday, the Pretoria magistrate’s court granted the Hawks a warrant of arrest for the Bushiris. On Wednesday, the Hawks said the North Gauteng High Court also issued warrants for the arrest of the Bushiris who faced charges of fraud and money-laundering.

Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said: “At the time of their disappearance, Mr and Mrs Bushiri had posted bail of R200,000 each and were required to regularly present themselves to authorities as part of complying with their bail conditions.

“During today’s court proceedings, the matter was postponed to December 7 2020 for the formal withdrawal of bail and forfeiture of the bail deposit,” said Mogale. “SA has initiated legal proceedings to secure the extradition of the fugitives,” she said.

Writing on his Facebook account on Wednesday, Bushiri confirmed he and his wife had five passports but said these had all been handed to authorities in SA. Bushiri said he was not confident he would get a fair trial in SA.

“The minister [of home affairs Aaron Motsoaledi] further went on to state that our permanent residence permits are irregular and therefore our stay in SA is unlawful because my wife and I misrepresented facts to induce his department to issue the permits and his department issued incorrect permits to us due to their oversight,” said Bushiri.

“Therefore, his department has decided to revoke our permits. This is but one of the many injustices that I feared would befall me and my wife. This internal process is already prejudged by the minister before I submit my representations on why our permits should not be revoked because we did nothing wrong,” said Bushiri.

LISTEN | Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary get bail of R200,000 each

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