The extradition case of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, has been adjourned to next week Monday, 15 March, after the couple’s lawyer requested the magistrate handling the case recuse himself.

Bushiri and his wife appeared in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 8 March, after Malawi received a formal extradition request from the South African government on 4 December.

Recall that the couple skipped the country in November last year after they were granted bail of R200,000 each by the Pretoria Central Magistrate’s Court, citing safety and security concerns and claiming they would not get a fair trial in South Africa.

They are facing charges of fraud and money laundering case of about R102 million.

According to Malawi publication, The Nation, the Bushiris’ lawyer, Wapona Kita, requested an adjournment to allow them time to file documents in effort to get chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa to recuse himself.

Kita argued Chirwa was not fit to handle the case and that his clients were yet to be served with the extradition request.

It is reported that the magistrate stood in for a colleague who is sick.

The lawyer further alleged that Chirwa had granted the state the warrant of arrest used to effect the arrest of the Bushiris.

The couple had previously been granted permission for a court injunction stopping them from being rearrested.

The High Court Civil Division in Lilongwe also adjourned the inter-partes hearing on Bushiri’s application to later this month  due to the state having filed their documents late.