The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court has charged former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) director-general Aubrey Sumbuleta with three counts each of indecent assault and abuse of office in relation to sexual harassment of female employees.
He appeared before chief resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa where the State made an application to have his case committed to the High Court.
However, before ruling on the application, Chirwa read out the charges against Sumbuleta who is accused to have sexually abused female employees at MBC and Ministry of Information.
On the first count of indecent assault, Sumbuleta on February 4 2010 in Lilongwe allegedly assaulted an employee at Ministry of Information where he was working as deputy director of Information.
On the second and third count of indecent assault, Sumbuleta, in 2014 while working as MBC director general, is accused of having assaulted two different female employees in Blantyre.
He is also answering three counts of abuse of office. The first count is in relation to the sexual harassment that occurred at Ministry of Information while the other two counts of abuse of office are in relation to the sexual harassment incidents that occurred at MBC.
Chirwa has since committed Sumbuleta’s case to the High Court.
“The court is satisfied with the application for committal by the State. The State has produced a certificate issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP]. The matter is, therefore, moved to the High Court to be handled by a judge,” he said.
Police prosecutor Cecelia Zangazanga said the nature of the case compelled the State to have it transferred to the High Court.
She said the case will be prosecuted by the DPP.
In an interview, Sumbuleta’s lawyer Oscar Taulo said he will apply for bail for the High Court to release him as he has been in police custody since Saturday.
He added that the High Court will also set a date to start hearing the case.
Sumbuleta was arrested after a Malawi Human Rights Commission investigation into alleged reports of sexual harassment faulted him on his alleged conduct of sexual abuse and abuse of office.