A Malawian court has ordered the release of fugitive pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary.

The magistrate ruled that the Bushiris were illegally arrested. The pair who fled South Africa last week handed themselves over to police in the capital, Lilongwe yesterday.

The leaders of the Enlighted Christian Gathering are accused of fraud and money laundering. They were released on bail of R200 000 each earlier this month.

This is another shocking development in the Bushiri case.

The court says proper processes weren’t followed despite the fact that Interpol had communicated South Africa’s warrant of arrest. The pair of fugitives also brought themselves before law enforcement.

The state was applying for the fraud accused to remain behind bars for another 30 days to allow for the extradition process to get under way,  arguing that the Bushiris had already fled South Africa and there was no guarantee they were no longer flight risks in their home country.

The court found that the Bushiris surrendered,  showing their compliance with Malawian law enforcement.

Bushiris mansion forfeited to the state in SA

The Pretoria Magistrate’s Court ruled that the R5.5 million Pretoria property belonging to Bushiri and his wife has been forfeited to the state.

Magistrate Thandi Theledi, who had granted them bail, made the ruling earlier on Thursday morning.

The couple fled the country to Malawi last week, contravening their bail conditions.