Four stories you need to read on SA's Bushiri extradition efforts
It remains to be seen whether self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary will be arrested, after the Malawi government confirmed on Tuesday that their arrest warrants were being prepared.
Here are four must-read stories, from the extradition application by the SA government to arrest warrants:
Bushiri's extradition process begins
The SA government confirmed last month that it had begun the extradition process for the Bushiris from Malawi. This after the couple skipped SA in October under mysterious circumstances. The Malawian and SA governments dismissed rumours that the couple escaped with the help of Malawi's president Lazarus Chakwera, after his visit to president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Government communications and information systems director-general Phumla Williams said home affairs immigration officials verified the identities of passengers who travelled with Chakwera, and that the Bushiris were not on the flight.
Malawian government denies receiving extradition application
Malawian minister of information Gospel Kazako disputed the National Prosecution Authority's claim that it had received the extradition request from the SA government.
This after the NPA's Sipho Ngwenya told TimesLIVE that they were awaiting further developments on the matter.
Kazako had admitted that SA and Malawian lawyers were communicating about the matter, though he denied any formal correspondence.
“What is expected to happen is that the NPA in SA must send the application of the relevant documents to the [SA] minister of justice. Your minister of justice must send the documents to the minister of foreign affairs in SA,” he explained.
“That minister must send the documents to the SA high commission in Malawi. Then the documents must be taken to the minister of foreign affairs in Malawi. Our foreign affairs then sends it to the ministry of justice, where the attorney-general, who is the head of state lawyers, will chart a way forward.”
Malawi confirms receipt of an extradition application
Last week Kazako confirmed the receipt of the extradition application. Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola said the application for the couple was served in terms of article 6 of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on extradition, article 10 of the extradition agreement between the governments of Malawi and SA, and the Extradition Act.
Lamola said the SA government noted that the Bushiris had appealed against the application. He said they would closely monitor the processes by the Malawian government.
Arrest warrants loom for the Bushiris
On Tuesday, Kazako confirmed that warrants of arrest were being prepared for the couple. He would not indicate whether or when they would be arrested, saying the court would make the decision on whether to issue the couple with the warrants of arrest.
“It will depend when the minister signs and when the courts will act on the request from the attorney-general.”