Judiciary fails to refund sex workers


At least 19 sex workers have come out to accuse the Judiciary of failing to give back their money which a magistrate court ordered them to pay after conviction, which was later overturned by the High Court.

The 19 were convicted of living on the earnings of prostitution. The sex workers came out in the open to make their claim after the The Daily Times published a story about Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accusing the Judiciary of flouting Treasury rules when it loaned out to its staff K1.4 million deposited as bail bond by suspects whose cases were in courts.

One of the sex workers Alice Makumbu, aged 31 and from Dedza, said on Monday that the Dedza Magistrate’s Court convicted them in 2016 in the Pempho Banda and 18 others prostitution case and ordered them to pay K7, 000 each.


However, Judge Zione Ntaba of the High Court in Zomba ordered the lower court to pay back the money to the sex workers.

“We have been going to the court to get back our money but we are always told different stories. It is now over a year and the courts are failing to give me my K7, 000. This is unfair,” Makumbu said.

She said every time she goes to the court, she is told that the government has no money.


Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance Executive Director, Victor Mhango said the judiciary is supposed to obey the law.

“Courts are supposed to be the first to abide by the law. When there is a court ruling, courts are supposed to be exemplary by obeying it but what is happening with the sex workers is disappointing. Is it because these sex workers are ordinary people without a voice?” questioned Mhango.

Officials from the Judiciary could not be reached for comment on several attempts, but acting Registrar of the High Court, Agnes Patemba, told Pac members last week that sometimes it takes time to refund money to those acquitted due to several factors, including lack of relevant documents.

She, however, said the Judiciary is improving the situation so that the refunds are made timely.

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