By: Raphael Likaka
The Lilongwe First Grade Magistrate court has sentenced Francis Mbewe to three years imprisonment with hard labour for indecent assault of a female employee at Wildlife Sanctuary in the city of Lilongwe.
Public Relations Officer for Lingadzi Police Station Sub Inspector Salomy Zgambo said the assault occurred on 22 July, 2021 at Wildlife Sanctuary in the city of Lilongwe.
The court heard through Police Prosecutor Sergeant Gladson Chinseu that in July 2021, Mbewe who was working as a supervisor at the Wildlife Sanctuary took the victim for site induction since the victim was newly employed.
Chinseu said that as they were in the wilderness, Mbewe started caressing the victim, a thing which did not please her.
The prosecutor also said Mbewe demanded sex from the victim in order for her to be favoured at the workplace. When the woman reported to authorities, Mbewe started intimidating the victim.
In court, Mbewe denied charges of indecent assault and intimidation which prompted the state to parade four witnesses who proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused indeed committed the crime.
The court was convinced and found Francis Mbewe guilty of both counts.
In submission, the state pleaded with the court for stiffer punishment saying that the convict took advantage of his position to molest women.
The state said that giving him stiffer punishment would deter the would be offenders.
In mitigation, Mbewe pleaded with the court for leniency saying that he is a family man and his family might suffer. He told the court that giving him custodial sentence would mean dying three times. He said that he did not sleep with the woman, he lost his job and will also go to jail, hence asking for leniency.
Passing judgement on February 6, first grade magistrate Florence Msekandiana concurred with the state that this malpractice is becoming a norm in work places.
Msekandiana said that women are being harassed and molested in offices on daily basis such that giving such a person stiffer punishment would deter the would be offenders hence slapped him with 3 years in jail for sexual harassment and 2 years for intimidation. The sentences will run concurrently.
Francis Mbewe, 37, comes from Ntchindi village in Traditional Authority Mankhambera in Nkhatabay.