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Bushiris back in court Tuesday

Shephard Bushiri (right) and Mary

The High Court sitting in Lilongwe is Tuesday expected to deliver its judgement on whether South Africa-based witnesses in the case in which Enlightened Christian Gathering leader Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary are accused of fraud in South Africa should testify physically or virtually.

In April last year, the State asked the High Court to review Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court’s ruling that the State should bring in South African witnesses in the preliminary inquiry in which it wants the Bushiris extradited to the Rainbow Nation to answer fraud and money laundering charges.

Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa, in his ruling on an application filed by lawyer for the Bushiris, Wapona Kita, said the State could not rely on statements taken by other people in other places in the Bushiri extradition case.

According to Chirwa, the Bushiris have a right to question all witnesses and the State must allow the Bushiris the right to do that.

But the State, through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, moved the High Court to rule that extradition witnesses do not have to cross the borders into another country to testify.

In a notice of delivery of judgement, High Court Assistant Registrar Madalitso Chimwaza says Judge Redson Kapindu will deliver judgement on the matter Tuesday at 10am.

Bushiri and his wife Mary fled South Africa in November 2020 when they were answering charges of fraud and money laundering.

The Bushiris, alongside two others, were arrested in October 2020 in South Africa in a multimillion-dollar money-laundering case but were granted bail on November 4 2020.

In his televised press conference just after arriving in Malawi in November 2020, Bushiri described his decision to skip bail in South Africa as a tactical withdrawal meant to preserve lives.

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