Self-proclaimed Malawian prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, on Wednesday handed themselves over to police in Lilongwe, five days after they skipped bail and fled South Africa.
Malawian media outlets have confirmed their arrest, reporting that a Pretoria court on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for the suspects who are due to stand trial on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering involving US$6 million.
They were arrested in mid-October and granted bail. The cleric’s assets which include a Gulfstream private jet have been seized.
It is not known how they left South Africa because their passports were confiscated, but Bushiri made a televised address in Malawi on Saturday, stating that he was concerned about their safety.
On Wednesday, Bushiri said in a statement that he would be presenting himself before law enforcement agencies in his home country “to legally explain and defend the decisions that I made to come to Malawi”.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Interpol as well as South African and Malawian authorities to facilitate a smooth extradition process for the Busharis.
“As a member of Interpol, Malawian police authorities now have an obligation to hand the two fugitives over to the international agency and South African authorities,” said DA MP Angel Khanyile.
She noted that their escape has highlighted the poor state of South Africa’s border management systems and how vulnerable it is to corruption.