I did not touch Mwila’s thighs, breasts – Palan

Game Stores Manager, Vincent Palan
Game Stores Manager, Vincent Palan

GAME Stores manager Vincent Palan  told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he never touched Mukamuluti Mwila’s thighs, buttocks and breasts as alleged.

And chief resident magistrate Aridah Chulu says she will deliver judgment in the case Palan is accused of sexual harrassment on January 7, 2016 after the defence closed its case.

Palan, 47 is in this matter charged with two counts of indecent assault and sexual harassment of female employees who included Mwila at the Game Stores in Lusaka in 2014.

Mwila and other female workers alleged that Palan had at different instances advanced sexual actions towards them and that he had at some point touched her thighs, buttocks and breasts.

Mwila had alleged that Palan even told her that: “I want to visit you down there,” an interpretation that he sought sexual intercourse with her right in his office.

However, when the matter came up for defence, Palan, who testified on oath, said all that Mwila had told the court were lies aimed at tarnishing his image.

Palan, who joined Game Stores in South Africa in 1992 and came to lead the Zambian outlet in 2011, said at no point had he interacted with Mwila during their working operations at Game Stores in Lusaka as she alleged.

He said when he first heard of the allegation, he thought it was a hoax.

“I first thought it was a hoax and I said, ‘let us not mess around, I have got work to do’,” Palan said.

According to Palan, Mwila, who joined Game Stores in early 2014 as a casual worker, had no opportunity to visit his office because she was too junior in the organisation’s structure.

“It is not true that I touched her thighs. This allegation is not true; I did not touch her or squeeze her. The allegation that I touched Mwila’s breasts is not true. She had never been to my office,” Palan said. “At Game, we have 24 managers, managing different departments and junior workers report to respective line managers, not to the general manager.”

He submitted that at no point was he found alone with Mwila in any of the offices at Game Stores, but that there was an asset inventory meeting with other departmental heads where Mwila could have been in attendance.

Palan’s lawyers Eric Silwamba and Lubinda Linyama closed the defence’s case without calling any other witnesses as they had earlier indicated.
Magistrate Chulu asked the state to file their final written submissions on November 10 while the defence should file theirs on November 30 and adjourned the case to January 7 for judgment.

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