10 cars belonging to Prophet Bushiri
10 cars belonging to Prophet Bushiri
In January, Malawi’s Ministry of Justice spokesperson, Pirirani Masanjala, said the court had ordered that the extradition hearing kick off in March after the court had issued a warrant of arrest for the two fugitives, wanted for charges including fraud and money laundering in South Africa.
Malawi’s justice system will once again be on trial this week when the formal extradition hearing for wanted self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, kicks off at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court in the capital on Monday. That warrant of arrest outlined that the charismatic preacher and his wife should be summoned to court in March.
Media reports in South Africa, quoting Malawi’s Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, said the matter would be heard before magistrate Viva Nyimba and was likely to be concluded in March. The story of Bushiri’s “great escape” from South Africa still features in public discourse.
In scenes fit for a James Bond classic, Bushiri’s escape coincided with a visit to Pretoria by Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera. In the absence of official government remarks on how and when the Bushiris left South Africa, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive. Vocally criticised by many people in South Africa, particularly on social media, Bushiri commands unparalleled praise and adoration from his legion of followers.
Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA) in Pretoria, an outspoken Bushiri ally, Christians of South Africa president Pastor Derick Mosoana, said the government of South Africa often goes after men of the cloth – if ever they shine and make a mark. “Christians of South Africa (Cosa) has for years been cautioning South Africans of a devious plan by the government of the day to persecute Christians with foreign ministers (church leaders) as their soft targets. The party doesn’t support the actions by the Bushiris to flee from the country, but facts around their case forced them to practise criminality,” said Mosoana.
“Cosa will not encourage the Bushiris to return to the country, and just like they did to Prophet Tim Omotoso, subjecting him to four years of a trial in custody without a sound indictment. The party has lost confidence in the judiciary, and we have reached a sorry state as a country.” Mosoana added that people in powerful positions within state institutions, including the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI or Hawks), the National Prosecuting Authority, and the judiciary, “sodomise our courts mercilessly”.
As a precursor to the high-stakes Bushiri extradition hearing, in South Africa this week, the Hawks said Bushiri’s legal representatives were arrested and taken to court, but their matter was not enrolled.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the elite crime-fighting unit had been investigating Bushiris’ legal representatives for crimes including corruption, intimidation and defeating the ends of justice since 2018 in relation to alleged withdrawal statements from women who had accused Bushiri of rape.
“The DPCI has noted the media statement issued by Mr Shepherd Bushiri with concern. As early as 2018, Lieutenant-Colonel Mrwebi has been investigating the matter relating to Mr Bushiri’s lawyers for corruption, defeating the ends of justice and intimidation after receiving purported withdrawal statements from rape victims,” Mogale said.
“After the investigation was completed, the warrants of arrest were obtained from the magistrate’s court, and ultimately executed on March 1 2021. The suspects were taken to court but could not be enrolled.” Bushiri lamented that his instructing attorney in South Africa and legal adviser were “unlawfully” detained by the Hawks.
“On Monday, with deep shock and sadness, I learnt about how the Hawks, for eight hours, unlawfully detained my instructing attorney, Mr Terrance Baloyi, and my legal adviser, Mr Alvin Khosa,” said the preacher.
Watch the video below as the cars get repossessed: