By Taonga Sabola
Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe has today ordered both parties in the extradition case involving Enlightened Christian Gathering leader Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary 14 days to make fresh submissions on how the court should proceed on evidence submission by South African witnesses.
Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza was making a ruling on Bushiri’s preliminary objection to dismiss the application by the State to have his extradition case referred to the High Court for purposes of the High Court to make an order that the witnesses testify in South Africa.
During the last court appearance, the state had prayed to the court that the case be referred to the High Court for the court to determine that the witnesses testify in a South Africa court, to cut costs as well as to help them from contracting Covid 19 in the course of travel.
But Bushiri, through his lawyer Wapona Kita argued that the same court already ruled on the same issue on June 8 last year and that revisiting its decision would be functus officio.
The doctrine of functus officio holds that once an arbitrator renders a decision regarding the issues submitted, he lacks any power to re-examine that decision.
But in her ruling, Chimwaza said a recent High Court ruling in the same case, gave authority to her court to determine on how the matter of the South African witnesses be handled and that the court is not functus officio.
As Chimwaza read her 25 minutes ruling, the Bushiri’s looked unmoved while seating in the doc.
While adjourning the case to August 5, 2022, Chimwaza then gave both parties seven days to make fresh submissions on the matter. But both sides prayed for more time and agreed that 14 days would be appropriate.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, both parties said they were satisfied with the ruling.
Kita said though it may appear as if the case was starting all over again, they were still satisfied with the judgement.
On his part, Senior State Advocate in DPP Chambers, Matthews Chione expressed worry over the slow pace of the case but was quick to point that the state is ready to make fresh submissions in the matter.
The Bushiri’s are wanted in South Africa for alleged money laundering and fraud charges to the tune of R102 million.
The couple fled the rainbow nation in November 2020, just a few days after the Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court granted them R200 000 bail each.