The Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has ruled that witnesses based in South Africa must come and appear before the court in the extradition case against Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri.
The ruling was delivered today in court following an application by Bushiri’s lawyer Wapona Kita.
Bushiri and wife Mary fled South Africa last year where they were charged with fraud and money laundering. Extradition documents sent to Malawi show that Bushiri is also wanted for sexual abuse.
Kita made an application last week that witnesses should come to Malawi as the court cannot be using South African court documents as evidence in the extradition case.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa in his ruling today has ordered the state to interview witnesses from South Africa and that those witnesses must appear in court in Malawi to sign under oath as well as to be questioned by the defence.
According to Chirwa, the state did not follow the law by relying on affidavits sent from South Africa.
Following the ruling, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni expressed concern saying names of Bushiri’s accusers need to be protected.
He, however, said his office will contact prosecutors in South Africa to find a way forward on the issue of bringing witnesses to Malawi.
The court proceedings were held hours after Bushiri and Mary Bushiri announced the death of their daughter Israella.