Enlightened Christian Gathering leader Shepherd Bushiri has confirmed that he is in Malawi.
In a televised address on Saturday evening, the self-proclaimed prophet said that he arrived in the country on Wednesday evening after fleeing South Africa.
Bushiri and his wife Mary were granted bail of R200,000 each last week Wednesday. They are accused of theft, money laundering, and fraud.
Bushiri was adamant that he did not want to abscond from standing before a judge, but that he feared for his life and believed that he would not receive a free and fair trail.
“I believe in the law and I am a law-abiding citizen,” he said.
Presenting himself as being unfairly persecuted, Bushiri said that he had been extorted by police officers in 2018 and that when he reported the matter, his legal woes started.
Life in danger
The pastor added that he sent his young children back to Malawi that year as well, due to safety concerns.
In addition, having allegedly survived previous assassination attempts, he currently feared for his life.
Bushiri said that he has not been in touch with the Malawian government and will formally approach them on Monday.
“I am not running away… I have come to seek from my government intervention.”
Issues on the table include his safety concerns, the fact that he believes he will not receive have a fair trail in South Africa, and that he does not want his bail to be revoked.
One of his bail conditions was that he was not allowed to leave South Africa.
In addition, he wants independent investigating officers appointed to his case.
Bushiri added that having “a white judge and white investigating officers” assigned to his case means that he will not get a free trail.
He said that he has not transferred any money out of South Africa and that all his assets were left as is.
Also, Bushiri said that he does indeed have legal, permanent residency for South Africa.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi previously said that Bushiri and his wife were in South Africa illegally.
Diplomatic storm brewing?
Bushiri’s flight from South Africa is likely to be highly embarrassing for Malawi and could cause a diplomatic storm, especially since Malawian President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was in the country this week to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
On Saturday afternoon, Justice and Correctional Service Minister Ronald Lamola, threatened to have the pastor extradited.
In a tweet, Lamola said Malawi is a “signatory of the SADC protocol and other legal instruments on extraditions.
“We will not hesitate to invoke these provisions and instruments to assist law enforcement agencies to extradite fugitives of justice.”
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