Celebrity preacher and entrepreneur Ebit Lew will be tried for 11 counts of sexual harassment at the Tenom magistrate’s court in Sabah next month.
Assistant Commissioner A. Skandaguru, the director of corporate communications for the police, confirmed the matter in a statement.
“Ebit Lew, who was accused in the Tenom magistrate’s court in February on 11 charges of sexual harassment under Section 509 of the Penal Code, will be tried between Sept 27 to 30 in the same court,” he said.
The 38 year-old could face up to five years in prison or a fine or both for each count if found guilty.
Ebit was charged in court on February 18 with 11 counts of sexual harassment.
Lew was represented by attorney Mohamed Zairi Zainal Abidin, while the prosecution was led by Sabah State Director of Prosecutions Muhammad Ilmami Ahmad with support from Deputy Public Prosecutor Azreen Yas Mohamad Ramli.
He was freed after posting RM1,000 (US$223) bail with two sureties for each offence.
Ebit is accused of using WhatsApp app to convey vulgar images and remarks with the intention to offend someone’s dignity, according to Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department director Abdul Jalil Hassan.
The police opened an inquiry into Ebit in July of last year after receiving complaints that the preacher had sexually harassed several people. Evidence of this was leaked on a Telegram channel last year.
Following the report, authorities started an investigation under Sections 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act of 1998, Section 14 of the Minor Offenses Act of 1955, and Section 509 of the Penal Code.
In order to help with the investigations, Ebit provided his statement in August and October of last year.
He asserted that the accusations were simply a malicious slander of him.
Ebit has a following of 5.7 million on his Instagram account which he regularly updates. No statement has been made by him yet recently.