Malawi: No Need for Witnesses In Bushiri Trial to Testify in Malawi, Court Rules

Cape Town — A Malawian Court has ruled that South African witnesses in the fraud case against self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary do not need to travel to Malawi to give their depositions, but that it can be done in South Africa and delivered to the courts in Malawi.

The pair who pastor the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church appeared in a South African Court in 2020 on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering, totalling R100 million. The pair broke their bail conditions by fleeing to their home country, Malawi, with help – allegedly from a  corrupt South African police official and her husband.

Wrangling between South African and Malawian authorities for their extradition has been ongoing as South Africa does not have a formal treaty with Malawi. The Malawi courts ruled at the time that their extradition would be “illegal”.  The pair then set conditions for their return to South Africa, including a request that their bail conditions not be revoked as they fled “fearing for their lives”.

The Bushiri’s permanent residency in South Africa also raised alarm bells at Home Affairs, leading to the sacking of Ronney Marhule, the chief director who recommended that they be issued with permanent residence permits. The department said in their statement that Bushiri did not deserve the residency. Marhule was found guilty on two counts of misconduct relating to dishonesty and negligence at the conclusion of a lengthy disciplinary hearing which lasted for almost a year.

The extradition case is ongoing.