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Malawi president washes hand off case of ‘fugitive’ prophet who fled South Africa after bail

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The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera has stated that he will not intervene in the case of controversial millionaire Shepherd Bushiri who fled South Africa for his native Malawi after he was released on bail in a case of alleged fraud and money laundering.

“He will leave it to state institutions to do their job,” Chakwera’s spokesman Brian Banda told reporters on Monday.

“A warrant of arrest has been issued this morning by the Pretoria magistrates court for the two fugitives,” Katlego Mogale, acting spokeswoman for the elite police unit known as the Hawks in South Africa, said in a statement yesterday.

In recent days, media reports claimed that the Bushiri’s fled the country with Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, who was on a two-day official visit to South Africa during which he held talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

READ ALSO: Controversial prophet flees South Africa, returns to Malawi, after getting bail

Both the Malawian and South African governments have refuted the claims, saying that immigration officials verified the identities of all passengers on the presidential flight on Friday.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightenment Christian Gathering Church, also known to his followers as Major 1, said on Saturday that he fled South Africa after receiving death threats.

He refused to reveal to the BBC how they escaped, but it is thought that the prophet and his wife were smuggled across the border by a syndicate that deals with stolen cars.

Bushiri was initially arrested for alleged fraud and money laundering in October in a multimillion-dollar case but got bail in November.

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