Government is now playing wait-and-see on the extradition of murder suspect Misozi Chanthunya who remains in custody in South Africa.

The South African High Court sitting in Rustenburg, North West Province, a fortnight ago rejected Chanthunya’s appeal against his extradition process, observing he had no grounds to halt the process.

The conclusion of the presiding judge in the case stated that the decision to extradite Misozi rests with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Africa.

With the court guidance, Malawi has to wait to hear from the said Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and the tricky part of it is that the judgement never gave a period within which the South African Justice and Development Minister could make a decision.

Despite South Africa’s government role, Attorney General Anthony Kamanga told this paper that government is determined to bring him home to face justice.

Much as Chanthunya thwarted attempts to extradite him twice through the courts, Kamanga said the Malawi government was now optimistic the ruling will now pave way for justice to take course.

“Legally, it’s very possible that he can go to a higher jurisdiction court and appeal but as I speak, we have not received any indication that he intends to do that. Regardless of how long it takes, the justice will be pursued,” said Kamanga.

Ministry of Justice Spokesperson Apoche Itimu says Malawi is just waiting for South Africa to notify it to go and get its national.

She said the issue of death penalty could not arise as Lilongwe has already assured Pretoria that if Chanthunya is convicted, he will not be given capital punishment which remains in Malawi’s laws.

“The assurance to waive the death penalty was already given at the very beginning of the extradition process as it is the law in South Africa before someone is extradited,” says Itimu.

She said following the ruling Malawi does not have to make a fresh application to ask for the extradition.

“The process that’s going on in South Africa at the moment is all part and parcel of the extradition process; the application was already made.

“It’s just that the matter went to court because it was challenged by Mr. Chanthunya. It’s all being handled by the South African authorities, once the process is complete we will be contacted to collect him,” she added.

Chanthunya was charged in absentia with the murder of Linda Gasa, his Zimbabwean girlfriend who was studying at Malawi College of Accountancy in Blantyre. – By Golden Matonga

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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