Liato asks court to adjourn

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 yesterday asked the Lusaka magistrate’s court to adjourn his abuse of authority case because he is unwell.
Liato, 46, through one of his defence lawyers Patrick Mvunga asked senior resident magistrate David Simusamba to adjourn the case to another date because he had hypertension.
Mr Simusamba had on Monday, after Liato failed to appear before him, warned that he would proceed with the matter the following day with or without Liato‘s presence.
On Tuesday, he availed himself and two State witnesses testified that two hammermills were discovered at Liato’s Mwembeshi farm in 2011.
Liato is alleged to have, on or about June 8, 2010, being minister of Labour, abused authority of office by facilitating the sinking of two boreholes at his farm in Mwembeshi.
He is in the second count between May 14, 2010 and May 19, 2010, alleged to have abused the authority of his office by facilitating the diversion of two hammer mills meant for the people of Kaoma District.
But when the matter came up for continued trial yesterday, Liato, through Professor Mvunga, requested for an adjournment on grounds that he was sick.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) prosecutor James Mataliro did not object to the application.
Mr Mataliro, however, informed Mr Simusamba that the next time the court would be sitting, the State would make an application requesting the court to move its sitting to DEC offices to view exhibits.
Mr Simusamba adjourned the case to October 1, 2013.
Meanwhile, a matter in which former Information and Broadcasting Services minister Ronnie Shikapwasha and two others are charged with diverting public media funds has been adjourned to September 6, 2013.