BY MANENO CHIMULALA
The Malawi High Court has upheld the Magistrate’s Court verdict to have South African witnesses testify in person in the extradition hearing of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary.
The magistrate’s court ordered that the South African witnesses should attend court in person, rather than testify virtually, but the State disagreed and wanted the decision reviewed and set aside.
But delivering his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Redson Kapindu said Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa did not err in his ruling.
He, however, has given options to the lower court on best way the case can be handled.
Among the Options, Kapindu has directed the lower court to assess the reasons given and see if indeed the witnesses cannot come physically to testify.
He further gave an option of video conferencing if the reasons are valid saying the criminal procedure and evidence Act does not bar virtual conferencing.
Wapona Kita, lawyer representing the Bushiris, has expressed excitement that now the defense will have a chance to examine the witnesses.
The Bushiris fled the Rainbow country to their homeland, Malawi, in November 2020, just a few days after the Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court granted them bail.
Bushiri said he was not running away from any trial he faced, but left to seek intervention from the Malawian government because he did not feel safe in South Africa.
The couple is wanted in South Africa on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of R102 million.