Former MBC boss Sumbuleta sexually abused women – Inquiry

…Sumbuleta also accused of child sexual abuse

An inquiry by the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has found that former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) boss Aubrey Sumbuleta used his power to sexually abuse four women at the public broadcaster.

The Commission has released its report today after months of investigations.

According to the report, more than eight women accuse Sumbuleta of sexually abusing them but only four were willing to testify against the former MBC. The women were identified by pseudonyms in the report.

One of the employees Chikondi Phiri said she met Sumbuleta in 2010 at his office while he was working as Deputy Director   of Information in the Ministry of Information.

“Sumbuleta pounced on her, grabbed her buttocks and wanted to kiss her, she managed to push him away and run out of the office,” the report says.

Phiri reported the matter to her boss Bright Malopa who was MBC Director General (DG) at the time but the issue was pushed to the Ministry of Information where it was never pursued.

Sumbuleta was in 2015 appointed MBC DG and he made the environment hostile for Phiri such that she later resigned.

Another employee Yankho Banda was also forced to resign after rejecting Sumbuleta’s sexual advances where he used to invite her for meetings at his office at odd hours.

In the case of Lilian Moyo, Sumbuleta also used to invite her for meetings at odd hours but she never gave in and was in retaliation never promoted, according to the report.

Sumbuleta, during the probe, admitted having a sexual relationship with Tadala Mussa  in 1997. MHRC found that  Mussa was  15 at the time.

Mussa who works at corporation said she was also invited to Sumbuleta’s office when he was DG at odd hours and on one occasion he fished out his penis and asked her to “help him”.

“She tried to flee but the door was locked. He then asked her to bend her waist and pull her dress so he could masturbate and ejaculate while seeing her nakedness. She refused and he eventually opened the door and let her out,” reads part of the report.

Mussa was sent to the radio section of the MBC following the incident and was denied some employment benefits.

Sumbuleta during the probe denied all allegations by the employees.

But the MHRC has found that Sumbuleta sexually harassed the women, saying Sumbuleta expected them to give in to his advances because they are women.

The commission has advised the women to seek compensation for sexual harassment from Sumbuleta and has ordered MBC to compensate the women because the corporation does not have a workplace policy on sexual harassment.

MBC has also been ordered to re-instated Banda who retired early after being ill-treated due to the sexual harassment.

The Malawi police has been advised to institute criminal proceedings against Sumbuleta and investigate allegations that he sexually abused Mussa when she was 15.

Sumbuleta was fired at MBC for other disciplinary issues earlier this year.

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