Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says he cannot rule out the possibility of extraditing Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leader pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary to South Africa after the couple fled to Malawi.
In a tweet, on Saturday night, Lamola said Malawi is a signatory to the SADC protocol which facilitates extradition in a situation in which a person commits an offence that is punishable by law in both countries.
The Bushiris were arrested last month on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering in connection with an R102-million investment scheme. They cited safety concerns and unfair court proceedings as reasons for their decision to leave the country. They are demanding that the South African government guarantee their safety before they return for their trial.
Malawi is a signatory of the SADC protocol and other legal instruments on extraditions. We will not hesitate to invoke these provisions and instruments to assist law enforcement agencies to extradite fugitives of justice. pic.twitter.com/sUE8pZrfzB
— Minister of Justice and Correctional Services 🇿🇦 (@RonaldLamola) November 14, 2020
Bushiri says he doesn’t want to abscond trials in SA but fled for his safety:
Meanwhile, the Hawks say they are trying to get to the bottom of how Bushiri and his wife Mary managed to skip bail and flee South Africa.
The Bushiris were granted bail of R200 000 each last week and had to report to their nearest police station every Monday and Friday. Their co-accused were granted bail of R100 000 and R20 000 respectively.
Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale says relevant procedures will be followed to re-arrest the fugitive couple.
“With all law enforcement agencies there’s policies and regulations that need to follow and we are doing that. And with regard to speaking to these other countries, there are processes that need to follow with ministries and such.”