While the Hawks have said that they cannot confirm reports that Shepherd Bushiri and his wife fled the country for Malawi, Justice and Correctional Service Minister Ronald Lamola has threatened to have the pastor extradited.
In a tweet on Saturday afternoon, 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.”
The Minister also posted copies of the extradition protocol, which states that extradition will take place when the offense is punishable by law in both countries.
Bushiri – alongside his wife, Mary, Landiwe Ntlokwana, Zethu and Willie Mudolo – are facing charges of fraud, theft and money laundering in connection with an investment scheme worth R102 million.
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. pic.twitter.com/sUE8pZrfzB
— Minister of Justice and Correctional Services 🇿🇦 (@RonaldLamola) November 14, 2020
Earlier on Saturday, the Hawks issued a statement saying that while they could not confirm Bushiri fleeing the country, the self-proclaimed prophet did not present himself to the police as required.
One of Bushiri’s bail conditions was that he reports to his nearest SA Police Service (SAPS) office every Monday and Friday – between 06:00 and 18:00 – until the case is finalized.
In a statement, Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale said: “There are unconfirmed reports that Prophet Bushiri and his wife have absconded from South Africa which is in contravention of their bail conditions as set in the Pretoria Magistrate court.
“At this stage, we can confirm that he did not report at the police station as requested and agreed upon which is also an act of contravention of the court order.”
Mogale said investigators and prosecutors had been working tirelessly since it came to light he did not report to the police station. They are currently authenticating and verifying reports of the Bushiri’s departure to Malawi.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering leader said in a statement on Saturday that he and his wife are temporarily in Malawi.
“I would like to inform the general public that my wife, Mary, and I are temporarily in our home country, Malawi, because of safety and security issues since 2015, matters that got worse when we just got out on bail.
“There have been clear and evident attempts to have myself, my wife and my family killed and despite our several attempts to report to authorities, there has never been state protection,” he said.
This is a developing story…
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