A witness in the ongoing trial of former Minister of Labour and Social Security Austin Liato has testified that a Fuso Fighter truck delivered two hammer mills and six motor bikes to Liatos’s farm in Mwembeshi in Central province.
Carlos Sishwashwa 35, a bricklayer and general worker at Liato’s farm testified before Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba said he was with a fellow worker named Lumano when the truck arrived at the farm.
Sishwashwa said he and Lumano off loaded seven items at the farm.
He also told the court that one hammer mill was red in colour while the other was blue.
Sishwashwa said a day after the items arrived at the farm, Liato went to the area and asked his workers if they had seen the consignment.
He explained that in November 2011, government officers went to the farm and inquired where Liato was.
He said in response, he said Liato was in Lusaka.
Sishwashwa said it was at that point that the officers decided to call Liato on phone and waited for him at the farm but he did not show up that day.
He added that the officers then asked him and his fellow workers to load the hammer mills and the six motor bikes onto a truck at around 19:00 hours the same day.
Sishwashwa told the court that the officers collected the hammer mills and motor bikes one month after they had been delivered to the farm.
During cross examination by the defence, Sishwashwa testified that the hammer mills were new and had never been used at the farm.
He also confirmed that he did not know where the hammer mills were coming from and whether they were in transit to Kaoma.
The matter has since been adjourned to March 7, 2013 for continued trial.
Liato is charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office.
In the first count, he is alleged to have in June 2010 abused his authority of office as Member of Parliament (MP) for Kaoma Central and Minister of Labour and Social Security by facilitating the sinking of two boreholes at his farm in Mwembeshi.
The boreholes were supposed to be sunk in Kaoma Central Constituency.
In the second count, Mr. Liato on unknown dates but between May 14, 2010 and May 19, 2010 allegedly facilitated the diversion of two hammer mills which were meant for the people of Kaoma.