Lusaka magistrate wants Liato to appear in court


THE Lusaka magistrate’s court has warned that it will not entertain an application by former Labour minister Austin Liato to again adjourn his abuse of authority case if he does not appear in court today.
Liato’s failure to appear before court for continued trial yesterday prompted senior resident magistrate David Simusamba to adjourn the case to today.
Particulars of the offence are that Liato, 46, on or about June 8, 2010, being minister of Labour did abuse authority of office by facilitating the sinking of two boreholes at his farm in Mwembeshi, thereby obtaining property or advantage or profits to himself, an act prejudicial to the interest of the Government of Zambia.
It is alleged in  the second count that on an unknown date but between May 14, 2010 and May 19, 2010 Liato did abuse the authority of office by facilitating the diversion of two hammer mills meant for the people of Kaoma District.
When the matter was called up yesterday, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) prosecutor James Mataliro informed the court that Liato was not before it.
One of Liato’s defence lawyers, Moses Chitambala told the court that Liato was not before court because he was given a wrong date by another lawyer who had attended the last session.
Mr Chitambala said Liato instead had appeared on August 12, 2013.
He said his client’s absence should not be viewed as being disrespectful to the court but that his client should be pardoned and the matter adjourned to today.
But Mr Simusamba said it was surprising that Liato was claiming to have had wrong dates when the matter was clearly adjourned to yesterday in the presence of his lawyers.
Mr Simusamba in his ruling said it was strange for the accused to claim having a wrong date when his lawyer was in the forefront of suggesting for yesterday’s date.
He warned that he would proceed with trial today with or without Liato’s appearance in court as he would not entertain any further adjournments.