The Blantyre Magistrates Court on Thursday found alleged child trafficker Mateyu Kuchepa with a case to answer.
The 40-year-old’s case was, however, adjourned to Friday.
Senior resident magistrate Viva Nyimba made the ruling after analysing the evidence provided by 11 witnesses paraded before the court last Friday.
However, he said it is Kuchepa’s liberty to either remain silent or bring a witness to defend him in court.
Nyimba told the court that according to Section 79 of the Child Care Protection and Justice Act, a person who takes part in any transaction the object or one of the objects of which is child trafficking commits an offence and shall be liable to imprisonment for life.
He said for the purpose of the section, child trafficking means the recruitment, transaction, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for purposes of exploitation and the nine children, in their testimony to the court, have alleged that the accused person took part in recruiting and transferring them through a vehicle from Chinyama to Chinakanaka by way of a minibus from Chinakanaka to Wenela Bus Depot.
Said Nyimba: “The nine also allege that the accused and another man who is at large intended to make them work in a tobacco estate, which is a form of exploitation…. The accused person’s intention to commit an offence is also found in the nine’s allegations that he told them to tell any inquisitive public on their way that they were going to a football match.”
Lawyer representing Kuchepa, Yasini Domasi, told the court that they will defend the case and his client will enter into defence himself, but he asked for adjournment, saying they need time to prepare for the case.
Speaking in an interview after the adjournment, Domasi said he is not satisfied that the court has gone ahead to charge his client with nine counts as there was no evidence that the nine witnesses who are alleging to have been trafficked are indeed children.
Kuchepa is answering nine counts of child trafficking following his arrest at Wenela Bus Depot in Blantyre on July 29 2015.