By Antony Isaiah Jr
The witnesses in the founder of the Enlightened Christian Church, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s extradition case expected to give their evidence while in their motherland, South Africa.
Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza on Monday ruled against Bushiri’s argument of having the witnesses testifying their evidence phsically in court in Malawi.
The State through the Director of Public Prosecution Steven Kayuni maintained that South Africa has competent courts that can record testimonies for use in Malawi.
The State has maintained to have the witnesses testify in South in South Africa saying logistical challenges could affect their attempt to have them in Malawi.
In her rulling, Magistrate Chimwaza has, therefore, referred the case to the High Court ro make an order that a competent Court in South Africa should physically examine the witnesses and she said this should happen within 90 days from today.
Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the Prophet Shepherd Bushiri Ephraim Nyondo says they are happy with the rulling saying their satisfaction stems to their demands of having the witnesses physically examined before the court.
“We are happy with the rulling. The court has helped us something that we had been waiting fir over three years in South Africa,” said Nyondo.
In June last year, the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court rejected the State’s application to allow these witnesses to testify by video conferencing.
The State appealed to the Malawi High Court, which, in February this year, ruled that the Lilongwe magistrate should be more flexible and should consider alternatives to forcing the witnesses to travel to Malawi to testify.
Prophet Bushiri and his wife skipped bail in November 2020 on several charges they are facing in South Africa — including rape, theft and fraud — and fled to their home country, Malawi.
South African prosecutors have since been trying to extradite them.