THE government of Malawi is set to arrest fugitive self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, for extradition to South Africa, Malawi media reported on Monday.
Media reports said on Monday that Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda had signed the extradition request and Bushiri and his wife were expected to be rearrested.
The charismatic preacher and leader of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church and his wife fled South Africa last month, violating their bail conditions.
They are accused of fraud and money laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at about US$7 million.
The couple were arrested in Malawi after a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol, but in court in Lilongwe, Magistrate Viva Nyimba ruled that their arrest was illegal as there was no formal request from South Africa and Banda had not signed any paper on extradition.
The prosecution wanted the Bushiris to be kept in custody for 30 days while his extradition request was being finalised, and filed an appeal in the Lilongwe High Court challenging the lower court’s decision to discharge them.
On arrival in Malawi, Bushiri claimed to have fled over security concerns and put forward five demands for the South African government to meet before he would return to stand trial.
He wanted his bail money not to be forfeited and wanted the investigating team and prosecuting team to be changed, claiming as a black man he would not have a fair trial presided over by white people.
He has since forfeited his bail and lost a multimillion-rand house in Pretoria for violating his bail conditions.
Privately owned radio station Zodiak Broadcasting Station reported that the court would have to issue a warrant of arrest for the couple to be detained and sent back to South Africa.