COVID-19 Delays Sumbuleta’s Sex Abuse Probe

COVID-19 Delays Sumbuleta’s Sex Abuse Probe

An investigation into allegations of sex abuse involving former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General (DG) Aubrey Sumbuleta will be delayed due to COVID-19 prevention measures in force.

Sumbuleta is being accused of sexual harassment to female employees at the state broadcaster during his tenure as Director General.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has revealed that conclusion of its investigations into the allegations are facing hiccups.

MHRC’s Executive Secretary, Habiba Osman , through a statement disclosed that the commission is failing to continue interviewing witnesses into the matter following a ban of public gatherings.

COVID-19 Disruptive

MHRC has been investigating the matter since October 2020, after Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Women Desk petitioned the commission to probe the matter.

Habiba, has however said that, the government’s human rights watchdog recognises the gravity of the matter which has generated public interest, especially human rights organisations, saying that it is working around the clock to expidite conclusions while adhering to prescribed COVID-19 directives.

Reads part of the statement:

“As a result of this the commission has had to postpone two scheduled hearings to allow for full adherence to all prescribed measures as directed by Ministry of Health.”

“At the moment the commission is only remaining with few witnesses to hear from. The commission takes cognizance of the need to expedite the disposal of this matter considering the huge public interest it has generated,” said Habiba.

Recently MBC fired Sumbuleta following a disciplinary hearing that was convened on January 28, 2021.

MBC’s Board Chairperson Rev Vasco Kachipapa disclosed that Sumbuleta was relieved of his duties after he was found guilty on four grounds, that were not revealed.

However, Kachipapa said that the firing of Sumbuleta is not connected to the sexual harrasment allegations that MHRC is investigating.

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