Shepherd Bushiri fled to Malawi last week in breach of bail imposed by the South African court.
A self-proclaimed “prophet” and controversial millionaire was arrested in Malawi after he surrendered to police on his mysterious return from South Africa, where he was on trial for fraud and money laundering.
Last week’s incident threatened a diplomatic rift between the two South African countries. Pretoria was reportedly angry that Shepherd Bushiri and his wife managed to leave the country on bail.
“The couple is actually in our care. We are currently receiving statements from the Bushiris. We will then bring you to court, ”said the Malawi police spokesman, James Kadadzera, to the dpa news agency on Wednesday.
Bushiri and his wife Mary will remain in custody until they are tried, according to one of their lawyers, Khumbo Soko.
Bushiri, a millionaire, said over the weekend that he fled South Africa because he feared for his life.
“He’s not a refugee,” said Bushiri’s spokesman Ephraim Nyondo.
“He is in Malawi to seek justice, which in his opinion is not possible in South Africa.”
The couple were known for their lavish lifestyle in South Africa. Bushiri made his fortune from donations from supporters of his church to the Enlightened Christian Congregation in Pretoria. He also had huge investments in mining, telecommunications, and luxury.
South Africa is trying to find out how Bushiri fled the country and has started legal proceedings to secure his extradition.
“The Bushiri matter has kept us all very busy,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the local news channel ENCA.
Ramaphosa said he was expecting a “detailed report on the entire Bushiri saga … then we’ll see what action needs to be taken because it should never have happened the way it did”.
“We’ll take action, that’s for sure,” he said.