Pretoria – South African law enforcement officials have arrived in Malawi to press for the extradition of fugitive Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary who are both wanted for fraud and other charges.
The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services on Friday said it can “confirm that a delegation of officials from South Africa led by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has arrived in Malawi to participate in the extradition hearing of two fugitives, Shepherd Bushiri and Mary Bushiri”.
The court hearing is scheduled for 30 May 2023.
“In leading this delegation the department is fulfilling its role as a central authority,” said Justice and Correctional Services Spokesperson Chrispin Phiri.
“‘In the extradition context, a central authority is a designated government department that has the responsibility for receiving, managing and executing extradition requests.”‘
On the 13th of February 2023, the Malawi High Court in its judgment indicated that section 6 of the Extradition Act of Malawi clarified that the witnesses or relevant witnesses to a preliminary inquiry/extradition hearing are those witnesses who will be able to answer and convince the Court conducting the inquiry on section 6 of the Malawi Extradition Act.
The High Court further ruled that the witnesses required to traverse the provisions of this section are state agents who will be able to comprehensively address these issues as required by the Malawi Extradition Act.
The following issues are to be canvassed:
A fugitive offender shall not be surrendered under this Act to a designated country, or committed to or kept in custody for the purposes of such surrender, if it appears to the Minister, to the court of committal, or to the High Court or the Supreme Court of Appeal on an application for directions in the nature of habeas corpus or for the review of the order of committal —
(a) that the offence of which the fugitive offender is accused or was convicted is an offence of a political character;
(b) that the request for his surrender (though purporting to be made on account of a relevant offence) is in fact made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions;
(c) that he might, if surrendered, be prejudiced at his trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions.
(2) A fugitive offender shall not be surrendered under this Act to any designated country, or committed to or kept in custody for the purposes of such surrender, if it appears as aforesaid that if charged with that offence in Malawi he would be entitled to be discharged under any rule of law relating to previous acquittal or conviction.
(3) A fugitive offender shall not be surrendered under this Act to any designated country, or be committed to or kept in custody for the purposes of such surrender, unless provision is made by the law of that country, or by an arrangement made with that country, for securing that he will not, unless he has first been restored or had an opportunity of returning to Malawi, be dealt with in that country for and in respect of any offence committed before his surrender under this Act other than —
(a) the offence in respect of which his surrender under this Act is requested;
(b) any lesser offence proved by the facts proved before the court of committal; or
(c) any other offence being a relevant offence in respect of which the Minister may consent to his being so dealt with.
Phiri said the South African delegation’s participation in the hearing is in line with section 6 of the Extradition Act of Malawi.
He said the delegation consists of senior and highly experienced prosecutors from the National Prosecuting Authority, the Investigative Directorate and investigators from South African Police Services.