The South African government has begun moves to extradite controversial preacher, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, after they skipped bail and escaped to Malawi.
The duo are standing trial for alleged fraud, theft and money laundering charges in South Africa. The clerics are out on R200,000 but failed to report to authorities on Friday as per their bail agreement.
Already South Africa government confirmed that a warrant of arrest has been issued with immediate effect for Bushiri and wife.
Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightenment Christian Gathering Church, also known to his followers as Major 1, announced on Saturday that he had fled South Africa after receiving death threats.
The South African government has labelled the couple as fugitives who must be extradited to face justice.
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, who was on a state visit to South Africa last week, was accused of aiding Mr Bushiri’s escape – an allegation he denied.
The South African authorities have also confirmed that the Malawian millionaire preacher did not leave on President Chakwera’s flight.
South African government spokesman, Phumla Williams, said that the warrant of arrest which the state was applying for formed the basis of the documentation that it would submit to the Malawian government to extradite the Bushiris.
“We remain on track and that process is under way and once we have submitted the documentation, we will also share it with South Africans.”
Government has reiterated that the extradition process could be lengthy but when the Bushiris return to South Africa they could face additional charges for absconding.
“As far as we are concerned, he is accountable in South Africa and once we are able to establish that he has violated our immigration, that will also be another charge because he has violated but yes we are investigating that.”
The Hawks are also investigating how the couple managed to violate immigration laws after handing in their travel documents as part of their bail conditions.