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19.11.2020 Malawi

Malawi arrests 'prophet' who fled S.Africa, Ramaphosa vows action

By AFP
Arrested: Shepherd Bushiri, seen here on stage with his wife, Mary Bushiri, at a stadium in Soweto on New Year's Day.  By WIKUS DE WET (AFP)
LISTEN NOV 19, 2020
Arrested: Shepherd Bushiri, seen here on stage with his wife, Mary Bushiri, at a stadium in Soweto on New Year's Day. By WIKUS DE WET (AFP)

A millionaire preacher wanted in South Africa on fraud and money-laundering charges was arrested in his native Malawi on Wednesday, police said.

Shepherd Bushiri, 37, a self-proclaimed prophet known for "miracles" and an opulent lifestyle, skipped to Malawi last week in breach of strict bail conditions imposed by a South African court.

Malawian police launched a manhunt for the fugitive on Tuesday after Interpol issued an arrest warrant in Pretoria.

Bushiri and his wife, who are permanent residents in South Africa, handed themselves over to the police in the Malawian capital Lilongwe on Wednesday, according police spokesman James Kadadzera said in a statement.

They will remain in custody until brought before a court, according to one of their lawyers, Khumbo Soko.

South Africa is scrambling to establish how Bushiri escaped from the country and has initiated legal proceedings to secure his extradition.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed action.

"The Bushiri matter has been very concerning to all of us," he told local news channel ENCA.

Ramaphosa said he was expecting a "detailed report on the whole Bushiri saga... then we'll see what action needs to be taken because it should never have happened the way it did".

"We are going to take action, that's for sure," he said.

Bushiri said at the weekend that he had fled South Africa because he feared for his life.

"He is not a fugitive," said Bushiri's spokesman Ephraim Nyondo.

"He is in Malawi to seek justice, which he believes he cannot be accorded in South Africa."

Bushiri made his wealth through donations from followers of his Enlightened Christian Gathering church in Pretoria.

The mogul has huge investments in the mining, telecommunications and luxury sectors.

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