MALAWI – Fraud accused and self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary were released from custody in Malawi on Thursday, Malawi media reported.
The couple appeared before Magistrate Viva Nyimba in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court after their arrest on Wednesday on an Interpol warrant of arrest.
Nyimba ruled that the Bushiris should be released without bail because their arrest in Malawi was illegal, adding that the court had looked only at the legality of their arrest and not at what had happened in South Africa.
Rainbow Television reported that Nyimba deemed the arrest illegal since the warrant had not been channelled through the Ministry of Homeland Security.
The television station further reported that the State had argued that the offences the couple face were not within the borders of Malawi.
They requested that the court put them on remand for 30 days while awaiting the South African government’s formal request for extradition.
The couple handed themselves over to the police in Lilongwe on Wednesday morning after a warrant for their arrest was effected in South Africa on Tuesday.
They had left South Africa in mysterious circumstance and fled to their home country, Malawi, claiming they feared for their safety.
The couple are facing charges of theft, money laundering and fraud relating to an investment scheme in South Africa.
They had been released on R200 000 each by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on November 4 following their arrest in October.
As part of their bail conditions, they were only allowed to travel within Gauteng and North West until the case was finalised. The couple own a hotel in Rustenburg, North West.
Their bail was revoked and a warrant of arrest was issued.
The self-proclaimed prophet said he strongly believed in the constitution of Malawi to protect every citizen, including him and his wife, which was why they had fled to Malawi.
Daily newspaper The Nation reported online that Bushiri said he didn’t care if his property was seized in South Africa, because his life was more important than property.