Bushiris want magistrate out of extradition case


Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri and wife Mary Monday asked Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa to recuse himself in a case in which the State wants the two extradited to South Africa to face trial.

During yesterday’s court appearance, it was communicated that the case, which Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba was presiding over, had been transferred to Chirwa as Nyimba was unwell.

But lawyer for the Bushiris, Wapona Kita, argued that Chirwa could not handle the case as he is the one who issued a warrant of arrest for the Bushiris, which the High Court stopped from being effected.


Kita asked the court to adjourn the case so that his side could make a formal application for the magistrate to recuse himself.

He pleaded with the court to be allowed to go back to court after 14 days.

“Had we known in advance about the changes in the magistrates, we would have applied for recusal but we just heard about it today,” Kita said.


But Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni objected to Kita’s plea, saying the matter at hand was sensitive and needed to be handled with the urgency it deserved.

In his ruling, Chirwa gave Kita two days to file the recusal application and another two days for the State to respond to the matter.

The case is expected back to court on Monday afternoon.

As all this was happening, Bushiri, who was clad in a red designer suit and black pair of shoes, and Mary sat comfortably in the dock.

Earlier in the day, Bushiri appeared before High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda at the Civil Division of the High Court in Lilongwe for an inter-partes hearing of the injunction which he obtained against his arrest by the Malawi authorities.

During the hearing, Kita asked the court for more time to go through court documents which, he argued, were only served on them on Friday.

Nyirenda has adjourned the case to next Tuesday.

In November last year, the Bushiris left South Africa, where they were answering fraud charges for Malawi.

Bushiri described the move as a tactical withdrawal, saying he could not have a fair trial in the Rainbow Nation.

He has insisted that he came back to Malawi because he has confidence in the local Judiciary.

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