Bongani Bongo, the chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs, told The Star on Monday that the Bushiris could have been aided to flee South Africa by either local officials or the Malawian delegates here on an official visit last week.
“There is something very conspicuous about how the Bushiri escape happened. The Republic accredited 17 persons but 23 arrived. That in itself was bizarre. Then when the Malawian delegation left, it did so with 19 individuals on board. Why would that be the case? I am told that the two individuals travelled to Swaziland. We haven’t yet confirmed if they are there. If Mr Bushiri really went to Malawi and there was no plan to conceal his crime, what immigration documents did he use to enter the country?” Bongo asked.
Bushiri and his Mary, are part of a group facing charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering, which allegedly took place between 2017 and 2019. They were granted bail earlier this month but were barred from leaving the country and had their travelling papers seized by the state. It is still unclear how the Bushiris managed to leave the country without their passports.
“He should have been arrested on entry. How did their daughter leave the country without the parents? Without an affidavit or letter from the parents, which is required by law. Home Affairs needs to give us some answers?
“To me, it would be simple. We need to look at the security footage at the airport. We do know of Mr Bushiri’s status in Malawi. He is a very wealthy man, a man with political connections.
“To say that they left through a border, the Beit Bridge border, is not enough. It doesn’t explain the odd details of how the flight left. The Minister of Home Affairs will report to us tomorrow (Tuesday). Let us hear what he has to say,” Bongo said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malawi issued a press release criticising the delay in South Africa of Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s plane for seven hours on Friday. The press release claims that the manner in which the searches of the delegation were conducted and the delay breached diplomatic protocols. A letter has also been sent to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
South African officials had reason to believe Bushiri had escaped or was attempting to escape the country when that same Friday he failed to report to the investigating officers as required in terms of his bail conditions.