Former Labour Minister Austin Liato rearrested

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Mr Daniel Munkombwe (Southern Province Minister); Christopher Tett (Managing Director Bushtracks Africa Limited) with the award that was presented by His Excellency Mr RB Banda, The President of The Republic of Zambia; Honourable Austin Liato, Minister of Labour and Social Security (RIGHT)
Former Labour Minister Austin Liato this morning enjoyed short-lived freedom when he was cleared of abuse of authority of office charges after the state entered a Nolle prosequi before being rearrested.

This is in a case in which Mr Liato is facing two separate charges of Abuse of Authority of office contrary to Section 99(1) of the Penal Code Cap.87 of the Laws of Zambia.

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Government Joint Investigative Team Public Relations officer Namukolo Kasumpa says the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a Nolle prosequi against Mr Liato before the former Minister was rearrested on same charges.

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Mrs Kasumpa says on the first Count, Mr. Liato is in June 2010 alleged to have abused his authority of office being a Member of Parliament for Kaoma Central Constituency and Labour Minister by facilitating the sinking of two boreholes at his farm in Mwembeshi, when in fact the boreholes were meant to be sunk in Kaoma Central Constituency.

On the second Count, Mr Liato on unknown dates but between 14th May, 2010 and 19th May, 2010 did facilitate the diversion of two hammer mills which were meant for the people of Kaoma District.

He has released on Police Bond and will appear in Court soon.

 

Times of Zambia

By DELPHINE ZULU –

FORMER Labour minister in the MMD administration, Austin Liato has been re-arrested on charges of abuse of authority of office.

Mr Liato, who had been appearing in court on similar charges, had his case withdrawn yesterday morning when the matter came up for continued trial.

He was discharged by Magistrate David Simusamba.

His discharge followed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito’s decision to enter a nolle prosequi in the matter which was nearing completion.

State Prosecutor James Matalilo told Mr Simusamba that he had received fresh instructions from the DPP to discontinue the matter.

But Liato’s freedom was shortlived after Police officers surrounded him immediately after he left the courtroom and ushered him in a waiting white Land Cruiser, registration number TRM 509 ZM.

He was whisked to Lusaka’s Woodlands Police Station where he spent over two hours in the criminal investigations office for questioning before he was slapped with the new charges.

The arrest was effected by the Government Joint Investigative Team (GJIT).

Liato was accompanied to the Police by his relatives and lawyers Mutemwa Mutemwa, Patrick Mvunga, Nellie Mutti and Moses Chitambala from Lukona Chambers.

In a statement later, GJIT public relations officer Namukolo Kasumpa said Liato had been re-arrested following fresh directives from the DPP’s chambers on two separate charges of abuse of authority of office.

“The DPP, Mr Nchito has today entered a nolle prosequi in the matter against Mr Liato and accordingly withdrawn the case from court.

“He has, however, instructed that the former minister be re-arrested on similar charges,” she said.

In the first count, Liato, being a Member of Parliament for Kaoma Central Constituency and Labour minister, did on June 2010 facilitate the sinking of two boreholes meant for his constituency at his farm in Mwembeshi.

In the second count, the accused between May 14, 2010 and May 19 the same year did facilitate the diversion of two hammer mills meant for the people of Kaoma District.

After the interrogation, Liato said outside the Police station that everyone was God’s creation and, therefore, should be treated equally.

He, however, could not go any further as his relatives stopped him.

 Ms Kasumpa said Liato was released on police bond and would appear in court soon.

Meanwhile, former Republican President Rupiah Banda is this Friday expected to travel to South Africa following a court order to allow him to travel out of the country for a medical check-up.

Lusaka High Court Judge Anesi Banda-Bobo yesterday ordered that Banda’s passport be released to enable him to travel.

Banda, who has been on a travel ban, had his diplomatic passport cancelled by the Government in June this year but he had since been issued with a new one.

This was after President Michael Sata allowed Banda to travel following his request to the Head of State.

In a consent order for variation of bond, Ms Justice Banda-Bobo ordered that Banda, who was facing corruption-related charges, have his passport released to enable him to travel.

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