Two senior chiefs in Malawi have asked their government not to extradite self-proclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri to South Africa.
Their request comes after Pretoria sent a formal request to Malawian authorities seeking the extradition of Bushiri and his wife Mary after the couple skipped bail and fled the country last month.
In an interview, with Malawi’s Nyasa Times Paramount Chief Kyungu said there is no need for the Bushiris to be extradited.
“It is the responsibility of the Malawi government to protect its citizens, in our understanding, he is innocent… as far as I am concerned prophet Bushiri is the son of Malawi, he is innocent, he has the right to be protected by his government, and he has not wronged us.”
‘Both governments must consider Bushiri’ safety’
Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu said both Malawi and South Africa should consider the safety and life of Bushiri before making any decision, adding that “it is an open secret that mega-rich preacher’s life is in danger.
“We as Chewas believe that if a child has run away from the bush and seeks refuge in a house, we don’t send that child back to the bush, no.”
The government of Malawi is on record as saying it will follow the law and procedure in making its decision.
Information Minister and Government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako, confirmed the formal request from South Africa for the Bushiris’ extradition and that Malawi’s Attorney-General is preparing “to proceed for the signature of the minister of homeland security in Malawi.”
“Once it is signed, it will be submitted to court for issuance of warrants of arrest by the court.”
Kazako added that it’ll depend when the minister signs and when the courts will act on the request from the attorney-general.
Bushiris in court Monday
The Bushiri’s are expected to appear in the Lilongwe High Court on Monday after the State filed an appeal against the unconditional release of the charismatic preacher and his wife.
Lilongwe Magistrate Viva Nyimba had ruled that the couple’s arrest in Malawi was illegal as there was no arrest warrant issued by the Malawian authorities, in making the ruling and ordered their unconditional release.
The couple fled South Africa after being released on bail early last month.
The Bushiris and their co-accused are facing charges charges of theft, money laundering and fraud.
Meanwhile, the Sunday World reports that an investment company has obtained an urgent court order to freeze assets, including properties in England and Dubai and a luxury car worth over R20-million belonging to Shepherd Bushiri.
JM Busha Investment Company is also reportedly eyeing a Rustenburg hotel, which is believed to be worth millions, and possibly the R5-million Midstream Estate mansion that the SA government seized when Bushiri and his wife, Mary, skipped the country last month.
Bushiri’s Bugatti Veyron is valued at between R20m-R30m
By Riyaz Patel