Trial in the case in which former Minister of Labour Austin Liato is accused of receiving or retaining money amounting to K2.1 billion has failed to take off today because Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda has excused himself from presiding over the matter.
The case has since been allocated to magistrate Alidah Chulu.
Meanwhile, the prosecution team had applied that the case comes up for
mention on February 20th 2012 before trial commences in March this year.
The prosecution explained that the case comes up for mention in February because the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was still studying it.
The team further said the case could only be ready once the DPP gives
an instruction to proceed, adding that according to the law, if a case
involves an amount of over K50 million, the DPP must give instruction
But the defence team objected to the application stating that the
state should be serious when dealing in the prosecution of cases and
submitted that the case should come up for trial between today January
16, 2012 and Friday this week.
They also cautioned the prosecution team to take note of the liberty
of the accused person seriously.
And Magistrate Chulu overruled the prosecution team’s application
saying both parties had ample time to prepare and ordered that the
case comes up for trail on Wednesday 18th January 2012.
She said the prosecution team was asking for time which was too far
off by stating that the matter should come for mention in February in
Magistrate Chulu ordered both parties to get ready for trial to
commence this Wednesday adding that justice should not be delayed
because ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.