Bushiri case: South African court gives state 2 months to complete investigations


A South African court has said that the fraud case against Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary would be thrown out if investigations into claims against the couple are not completed by January next year.

The magistrate, sitting in Pretoria on Tuesday, told prosecutors representing the state that he was granting them one final postponement.

South Africa’s directorate for priority crime, commonly known as the HAWKS, arrested Prophet Bushiri and wife, Mary, in 2019 and accusing them of violating exchange controls.

When those charges were about to be quashed, at the Commercial Crimes Court a year later, in 2020, prosecutors amended the charges to fraud which Prophet Bushiri vehemently denied and challenged prosecutors to back their claims.

But, as it appeared the couple would be acquitted, South African authorities slapped new charges of fraud in November 2020.

Throughout proceedings, the Bushiris complained several times that they had been arrested without cause, and that the authorities in the southern most country of Africa kept seeking postponement after postponement.

And now, the Bushiris may have been vindicated, as a South African Court has run thin on patience, and told prosecutors to either proceed with the case against the couple, or see those charges fall apart.

The Pretoria magistrate court on Tuesday granted prosecutors a final postponement in the case against the Bushiris and ruled that prosecutors must complete their investigation before the matter resumes in court on January 2023 next year.

Reacting to the development, Prophet Bushiri’s spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo has told the media in Malawi that they welcome the court’s decision as it strongly vindicate whatever the Prophet had been complaining about being victimized in South Africa.

“They arrested him in 2018 for alleged money laundering and, for three years, he was never given a trial because the State was still investigation. Embarrassed because that case wasn’t going anywhere, they arrested him again, this time talking about fraud.

“Now three years down the line, his co-accused continue to appear before the court and the State is still investigation. What is that? We agree with the Court, this matter must be struck off the roll because it is just being used to victimize the Prophet and put his name in the negative limelight,” said Nyondo.

The Bushiris, who left South Africa, citing injustice and persecution maintain their innocence and are fighting extradition back to South Africa in their home country of Malawi.

A Malawi court has already ruled that South Africa must prove its allegations, provide evidence, and prove its allegations, something that is yet to happen.

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