The High Court has ruled that the case involving former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) director general, Aubrey Sumbuleta, who is answering to seven counts bordering between sexual harassment and abuse of office be transferred to Blantyre from the capital Lilongwe where it was currently being heard.
High Court Judge Redson Kapindu ruled in favour of Sumbuleta who had applied that his case be transferred Blantyre where he was arrested.
Defence lawyer, David Kanyenda, argued before the court on Friday that since his client—Sumbuleta—was arrested in Blantyre, it was, therefore, “fair that he also be tried Blantyre.”
Said Kanyenda: “71% of the counts allegedly took place in Blantyre and there is no satisfying reason that the accused be tried in Lilongwe.”
According to him, it was only imperative that the case be transferred to Blantyre since Sumbuleta is based there.
“His [Sumbuleta] coming to Lilongwe [and bank] is inconveniencing as he has to spend on transport and accommodation,” Kanyenda said.
However, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Steve Kayuni, objected to the application saying the State had 10 witnesses of which the majority reside in Lilongwe.
But Judge Kapindu ruled in favour of Sumbuleta saying he found no justification by the State to bring the case to Lilongwe when Sumbuleta was arrested in Limbe, Blantyre.
According to Kapindu, the Judge President will assign another judge that will proceed with the case’s directions and trial to avoid the Court also going into an expenses challenge.
Sumbuleta was arrested last year after some female staff members at MBC raised alarm regarding his behaviour. He pleaded not guilty to 7 counts ranging from indecent assault, sexual harassment and abuse of office.