Shepherd Bushiri (L) had previously said he wanted to clear his name

The South African government says it has contacted Malawi to hand over controversial preacher, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife, Mary, after the couple skipped bail.

The couple is facing fraud and money laundering charges in South Africa.

Mr Bushiri, the leader of the Enlightenment Christian Gathering Church, also known to his followers as Major 1, announced 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 they were smuggled across the border by a syndicate that deals with stolen cars.

His escape sparked a diplomatic between South Africa and Malawi.

The South African government has labelled the couple as fugitives who must be extradited to face justice.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, who was on a state visit to South African last week, was accused of aiding Mr Bushiri’s escape – an allegation he has repeatedly denied.

South African authorities have also confirmed that the Malawian millionaire preacher did not leave on President Chakwera’s flight.