President Lazarus Chakwera says he would not guarantee favours to prophet Shepherd Bushiri who is being sought in South Africa to answer a number of cases as SABC News reports that the Pretoria Magistrates Court which granted the Christian preacher bail, convinced that they were not a flight risk, has since revoked the bail and issued arrest warrant.
In a statement on Sunday, the South Africa government said it had initiated a process to secure the extradition of Bushiri and his wife.
President Chakwera’s executive assistant and State House director of communications Sean Kampondeni told the media during the Weekly Brief that it is not Chakwera’s character to guarantee favours to anyone.
“The President will not be holding meetings with anyone on the matter,” said Kampondeni.
This was an indirect response to Bushiri who said on Sunday that he will be meeting government officials on Monday to discuss his decision to flee from South Africa.
Kampondeni said the State House would not be drawn to comment on the issues surrounding Bushiri.
“These issues are not in the domain of State House. These are issues that are in the domain of the law enforcement agencies,” said Kampondeni, Chakwera’s top spin doctor and also the President’s son-in-law.
Kampondeni said Chakwera, a former evangelical preacher, would not be involved and intervene in the issue of extradition of Bushiri back to South Africa as requested by the South African government.
Bushiri and his wife were arrested last month and face charges of theft, money laundering and fraud in connection with an alleged R100m “investment scheme”.
Strict bail conditions set by the Pretoria magistrate’s court two weeks ago saw Bushiri having to surrender his passports, including his Malawian diplomatic passport, and only being allowed to travel in Gauteng and North West.
In a statement on Saturday, Bushiri confirmed he is back to his home country Malawi and said it was a “tactical withdrawal” to preserve their lives.
He said SA authorities had failed to act on several alleged death threats he had received and made demands of the government before he would return.
Bushiri said they had “come to a painful conclusion that what my wife and I have faced in the RSA, since 2015, is purely persecution NOT prosecution.
“What is shocking is that it was me who, in 2018, opened cases of extortion and intimidation against the officers who are, today, investigating, arresting and prosecuting me and my wife of these several allegations.
“Obviously, there can never be independence and impartiality. It’s purely acts of open vengeance. This, I must say, clearly violates rules of natural justice which says justice must not just be done but be seen to be done.
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“As such, I want to make it clear, here, that our coming to Malawi is not an act of running away from being tried. Not at all. All my wife and I want is to clear our names in a justice system that is fair, impartial and just.”
He said they were demanding the South Africa government assure their safety while in the country, that their bail would not be revoked, they would be granted the right to a fair trial, the investigating officers in their case be removed and arrested with a new investigation and prosecution team appointed.
Former South Africa public protector Thuli Madonsela weighed in on the demands, saying the government could not interfere in court proceedings on the matter.
She said because he had broken his bail conditions by fleeing the country, his bail should be revoked as dictated by the rule of law and indeed on Monday the court revoked the bail and issued arrest warrant.
Madonsela said she was hopeful an extradition agreement between the Malawi and South Africa could be put into effect and Bushiri would be held accountable.
She also hoped an ” asset forfeiture” will kick in on Bushiri’s properties including a sprawling hotel Sparkling Waters in Rustenburg.