The State has appealed to the High Court to review an order made by a lower court to have South African witnesses testify physically in the extradition case involving Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary.
The Bushiris were arrested in South Africa over fraud and money laundering charges, allegedly to the tune of R102 million.
The couple fled to Malawi just a few days after Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court granted them bail of R200,000 each under strict conditions.
How they couple got to Malawi nobody knows; it remains a mystery as the couple has, on several occasions, declined to detail how they traveled from South Africa to their homeland.
The South African government requested Malawi to send the couple back to Pretoria to stand trial for the charges levelled against them, as well as failing to comply with their bail conditions there.
But the couple, through their lawyer Wapona Kita, objected the request and also prayed to the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court not to allow the witnesses be part of the case through video conferencing.
On June 8, 2021, Magistrate Patrick Chirwa stated that there was no legal basis on which the court could direct for a video conference hearing.
Chirwa therefore ruled that the court required the witnesses to make themselves available to present their deposition.
Kita confirmed to have been served with the order from the High Court calling for the file from the magistrate court for review of the order on the physical attendance of witnesses in Malawi.
“I have not yet been served with any grounds for the review so I can’t comment much. We will just have to wait as we are now on the receiving end,” he said.
Kita applied to the Magistrate to have witnesses come to Malawi to testify and also to be cross-examined because the law requires so.
The state has always opposed this application arguing it was not trial.
The State, through Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr Steven Kayuni, wants the court to allow South African witnesses testify through video conferencing.
Magistrate Chirwa adjourned the case to July 12.