Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Thom Ligowe who was assigned to take over Eric Aniva “Hyena” case from Nsanje First Grade Magistrate Anderson Masanjala, on Wednesday failed to turn up so as to preside over the trial as he is reportedly outside the country for other official duties.
Instead Judge Masanjala who recused himself from further presiding over the matter adjourned the matter to September 1, 2016.
But Judiciary Spokesperson Mlenga Mvula confirmed that Ligowe has assigned Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi to take over the case.
He said the case will wait for “his worship Nebi who will decide when he comes back from ‘abroad’.”
Aniva and Vito Nkhalamba are answering a charge of engaging in harmful practices contrary to Section 5 sub-sections 1-2 of Gender Equality Act of 2013.
The two sex predators will remain in police custody following the court’s refusal to grant them a bail to pave way for further investigations.
The Nsanje based Aniva was arrested on July 25, 2016 following President Mutharika’s directive.
Aniva, 45 was detained after confessed to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television on July 21, 2016 that he defiled more than 100 adolescent girls as part of initiation rites into womanhood and sleeping with widows in a sexual cleansing ritual when all in all was HIV positive.
Aniva told BBC that locals used to pay him money in the range of £3 to £5 to perform the sex rituals.
He added that as a hyena, the main duty is overseeing a coming-of-age ritual, where girls take part in sex over a three-day period after their first menstruation.
Aniva who hails from Chiphwembe Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Malemia in Nsanje district will face life sentence if found guilty of underage sex.
However, Malawi Law Society (MLS) through its lawyer Mandala Mambulasa offered to represent Aniva in court.
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