When Joseph (not his real name) began his job as a cook for Jayesh Kumar Dalwad, an Indian national and assistant manager at Shayona Cement Corporation in Kanengo, Lilongwe, he had no idea that it would dramatically turn his life upside down.

Desperate for work after several months of unemployment, 35-year-old Mtsiliza resident Joseph struggled to support his three children. His excitement was palpable in January 2023 when he secured a position as an in-house cook at Jayesh Kumar Dalwad’s residence, located within the Shayona compound in Kanengo.

However, Joseph’s initial elation was short-lived.

“I started the job in January, and the following month, the abuse started. He started by asking me to massage his knee. And then he asked me to do his body the following week,” he explained.

Joseph told PIJ that Jayesh then asked for more.

“He started asking me to massage his private parts. But I refused because it did not sit right with me,” he said.

At this point, Jayesh started threatening him with dismissal, even bringing in a replacement for Joseph’s job.

“It scared me because I started thinking of my many problems at home. Without a job, how was I going to feed my children? So, in February, I accepted. On the first day, I found him naked, and he asked me to masturbate him until he ejaculated.

“But after that, I was disgusted by what I had done and told him that it would be the last time, but he continued to pressure me and threaten me with dismissal, so I really had very few options,” he explained.

Joseph said the abuse continued for over a year into 2024. “On several occasions, he asked me to suck his private parts until he ejaculated,” he said but clarified that, interestingly, his boss never actually asked to have sex with him.

“We did this every day except on Sundays, my off day. We would do it in the morning, and in the afternoon, he would bring in a girl from the office, and they would have sex in his bedroom,” he explained.

PIJ tried to track down the lady, but we were told that Shayona management had asked her not to talk to the press “while they were addressing her issue.”.

Joseph claimed that when he explained the abuse that he suffered at the hands of his boss to his colleagues and friends, no one believed him. So, in March of this year, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I didn’t have a smartphone, so I borrowed a friend’s phone, which I used to record the video,” he said.

A Captured Screen-Shot of the Disturbing Video of the Abuse

The disturbing 17-minute video, which PIJ has seen, opens with Jayesh naked on a bed before Joseph starts massaging his back. He then turns around, and Joseph continues to massage his boss’ private parts before he starts sucking it to the utter amusement of Jayesh until he ejaculates. Both Joseph and Jayesh can clearly be identified in the video.

The video gave Joseph the courage to present his case to Shayona management at the Company’s head office in Area 4.

“First, I met with the head of administration, Mr. [Spencer] M’baka, who referred me to the company’s operations manager, Prajeesh Padmanahan, who promised to sort out the issue,” he said.

The next day, Prajeesh called Joseph and asked to meet him at Gateway Mall.

“We sat in the car, Prajeesh, Jayesh, and I, and they showed me a plastic bag with money. They asked me to count the money. I counted K20 million, and they told me to take the money and keep quiet about the whole issue. They then asked me to sign on some paper, but they folded it so I could not see what was written on the other side. They just said they wanted to show management that I had indeed received the money,” he said.

After a few days, Joseph tells PIJ that he received a phone call from a lady who said she wanted to help him seek justice. She met the lady, Madalo Jumbe, in the company of Charles Phiri and lawyer Innocent Tepeka, where it was agreed that the lawyer would take up the case for compensation with Shayona. At this point, the lawyer later told PIJ that he was unaware that Joseph had already pocketed K20 million from Shayona.

After the meeting, Joseph says he felt that something was wrong with the three individuals and resorted to ignoring them, even though he had already signed papers allowing Tepeka to represent him for an agreed settlement of K100 million.

After the meeting, Tepeka tells PIJ that he went straight to work, unaware that his client had changed his mind.

“I engaged Shayona’s lawyer, and we settled for an amount that I cannot disclose because of client/lawyer confidentiality,” Tepeka told PIJ on Sunday.

However, sources privy to the case told PIJ that the settlement was K50 million.

Tepeka said that when he received the money, he sent out Phiri and Jumbe to hunt for Joseph, but to no avail.

“We actually got news that he had got a passport and had gone to seek greener pastures in South Africa,” he said.

But Joseph denied the claims that anyone came looking for him.

“I didn’t go anywhere. Of course, they tried calling me, but I did not answer them because I had decided not to deal with them any more,” he said.

On what he did not explicitly tell Tepeka that he was cutting ties, Joseph said he assumed that the lawyer would not proceed with his case since they had not finalised the case details.

“As a lawyer, he was not supposed to proceed with the case because we had not finalised everything. Although I signed two forms, there was one crucial form I was supposed to sign to determine the course of the case. He was not supposed to proceed with the case as a professional before we finalised our agreement. And he was also not supposed to receive the settlement without my consent,” he said.

Both Jumbe and Phiri confirmed being involved in the case.

Phiri explained: “I just took him to the NGO as a concerned citizen, but I have no knowledge beyond that. Talk to Madalo.”

On her part, Jumbe, a human rights activist, confirmed that she was involved in the case as an advocate.

“What I know about this case is that he assigned the case to Tepeka, and he actually signed an agreement to that effect so that he could receive compensation. Thereafter, I don’t know anything. The one who would be in a good position to explain is the lawyer. But what I know for a fact is that he assigned the lawyer to this case, and he signed the agreement,” she told PIJ.

Meanwhile, last week, Joseph suddenly reappeared in the company of Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) executive director Sylvester Namiwa, shockingly claiming that he had not received a penny from the settlement and further rejecting the claim that he had finalised the contract with Tepeka.

“There were still other papers pending for me to sign, which is why I was confident that he would not negotiate a deal without my approval,” he said, adding that he is now in the process of engaging new lawyers.

Tepeka told PIJ that since his former client has decided to use other lawyers, the settlement with Shayona is now null and void.

“I will discuss the issue with Shayona’s lawyer, Mr. Allan Chinula, and we will find a way forward,” he said, suggesting that the amount would be returned to the company.

According to sources who were in a meeting facilitated by CCEDI at the weekend to investigate the issue, Tepeka confessed to having received the K50 million settlement from Shayona and told the meeting that he had given K6.5 million to Jumbe and K7 million to Phiri.

But Jumbe vehemently denied having received any money from Tepeka.

“I don’t know anything. Why should he give me money like whom? What job have I done to be paid?” she wondered.

Phiri did not pick up our calls.

In an interview, Chinula refused to answer our questions, even when it was put to him that Tepeka had ceased to represent Joseph.

“Talk to his lawyer. I gave you his number,” he said.

When it was put to him that Joseph had not been paid any part of the settlement from Shayona, Chinula simply stated, “Oooohh, that is news to me, but then that is between him and his client.”

However, amidst it all, Shayona Cement Company stood complicit, enabling Jayesh to flee back to India and evade accountability.

The Video That Exposed The Abuser

According to Namiwa, this video was presented to the company’s Operations Manager through a flash disk. CDEDI also received complaints from a female employee at the same company alleging rape linked to the same manager.

“Regrettably, the innocent female worker’s complaint was simply wished away under the pretext that the suspect had bolted and that the matter was not reported to management soon enough,” he said.

PIJ has gathered information showing that Jayesh left Malawi for India through Kamuzu International Airport on March 21, 2024, a day after he and Prajeesh had given Joseph the K20 million hush money.

Efforts to talk to Shayona management proved futile. We initially sent questions via WhatsApp to Prajeesh, but he blue-ticked us. After further requests for comment, he blocked our number on both WhatsApp and normal calls. 

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