By Sifiso Zulu & Mia Lindeque | Eye Witness News |
JOHANNESBURG – The South African government on Sunday said it had started a process to extradite “fugitives” Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, from their home country Malawi.
In a statement, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said they would follow all due process in terms of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Extradition and other legal instruments to ensure the couple face the law.
“While this process is underway, law-enforcement agencies will continue investigations into this matter,” Williams said.
The Bushiris escaped from South Africa and broke their bail conditions amid a string of criminal charges. They violated a court order on Friday by failing to report at a police station as part of their bail conditions.
Their bail conditions also prohibited them from travelling outside of the country.
On Saturday, Bushiri starkly announced on Facebook that he had left South Africa claiming his life was under threat in the wake of the corruption and money laundering charges his facing.
Reports suggested that he fled from the country aboard a flight that Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera and his delegation used to travel to South Africa during a working trip.
However, the South African government disputed the claim saying Chakwera and his delegation were all verified by immigration officials, and that the Bushiris were not on the flight.
“Government is able to confirm that fugitives Mr Shepherd Bushiri and Ms Mary Bushiri did not leave South Africa aboard a flight on which President Lazarus Chakwera and his delegation travelled,” Williams said.
She added: “Following the visit, President Chakwera and his delegation departed from Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria and stopped over at OR Tambo International Airport to collect an additional number of officials who had travelled to South Africa earlier to prepare for the working visit.
“Department of Home Affairs immigration officials verified the identities of all passengers and Mr and Ms Bushiri were not on the flight.
“When travellers are processed for departure, they are required to present themselves to an immigration officer who, among other checks, verifies that the passport belongs to the traveller.”