Embattled Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Wednesday spent the night in police custody following their arrest Wednesday morning.
This followed failed attempts by lawyers of the Bushiris to obtain an injunction, at the High Court in Lilongwe, to stay the arrest until authorities gather enough information on the alleged crimes the two are said to have committed in South Africa.
Hundreds of ECG supporters, who gathered outside court premises, left quietly after lawyers Khumbo Soko and Allan Chinula failed to obtain the stay when they made an application before Justice Ruth Chinangwa.
Court sources told The Daily Times that Chinangwa has set aside November 24 for an inter-partes hearing on the stay.
But lawyer Wapona Kita told The Daily Times that he received instructions from the Bushiris to go to court today for bail application.
He could, however, not say what transpired at the court Wednesday, saying he was not hired at that time.
“I have not been briefed yet by my colleagues but the instruction I have from him [Bushiri] is to apply for his release tomorrow [today],” Kita said.
Kita said Bushiri would not be charged for any offence in Malawi because he did not commit any crime here.
Wednesday morning, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed that law enforcers had arrested Bushiri and his wife— acting on instructions from Interpol.
He said the Bushiris would be taken to court once the law enforcers finalised recording their statements.
As of Wednesday evening, police sources told The Daily Times that the law enforcers had not concluded the process.
In a related development, a group of local non-governmental organisations on Wednesday asked the Malawi Government to ensure that all conditions towards guaranteeing the Bushiris’ safety, rights and impartial hearing were put in place— including a written undertaking to take responsibility and ownership of anything that may befall the Bushiris while in South Africa.
The CSO leaders, who were led at the briefing by Black Economic Empowerment Movement, also asked the South African Government to announce the immediate withdraw of all persons Bushiri raised a complaint against and ensure that the prosecution team is led by neutral and independent persons.
The CSOs added that they would not allow the Malawi Government to be bullied by South Africa on the Bushiris’ matter.
Information Minister Gospel Kazako Wednesday told South Africa’s eNCA that Bushiri was not a flight risk in Malawi.
Bushiri and his wife Mary came to Malawi last Wednesday after jumping bail in South Africa, where they were arrested over R102 million fraud allegations