Austin Liato found with case to answer

Former labour minister Austin Liato has been put on his defence in the case relating to the K2.1 billion unearthed from his farm on suspicions that it was proceeds of a crime.

Liato was put on his face Friday morning by a Lusaka magistrate.

This means that Liato will now have to explain how he acquired the money or show that it was not profit from criminal activities.

Liato is charged with possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to Section 71(1) of the forfeiture of proceeds of crime Act number 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that Liato on November 24, 2011 in Lusaka, possessed and concealed money at his farm number L/Mpamba/44 Mwembeshi amounting to K2.1 billion reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

In his defence Liato had argued that there was no dispute as regards the lawful possession and ownership of the money found in a chalet at his farm and urged the court to acquit him because the state has failed to prove the allegations against him.

Liato, through his lawyers Nellie Muti, Mutemwa Mutemwa and Moses Chitambala, submitted that the perusal of records shows that the prosecution had failed to prove all the ingredients of the crime under the said Act.

But DPP Mutembo Nchito stated that Section 71(1) of the forfeiture of proceeds of crime Act number 19 of 2010 provides that “a person who after the commencement of this act receives, possesses, conceals, disposes of or brings into Zambia any money or other property that may reasonably be suspected of being proceeds of a crime commits an offence.”

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