Posts Tagged ‘austin liato money’

Hong Kong, Nov.30– A Zambian former minister who stashed close to US$420 million in an electrified underground bunker has spent his first night in a police cell.

Liato (l) served as Banda's (r) labour minister. PHOTO: postzambia.com

Austin Liatio was detained at Lusaka’s Woodlands Police Tuesday after investigators recorded a statement from him.

He presented himself before a team of investigators in a flashy flowery beach shirt and walking stick – a scene onlookers likened to a mafia dress code.

Making his first appearance in public since his buried treasure was dug-out last Thursday, Liato – a self-made ‘money grower’- looked reserved and showed no apprehension.

A crack taskforce investigating alleged mismanagement of public resources during ex-president Rupiah Banda’s three year rule, questioned Liato before holding him overnight at a police detention facility in the poshy residential area of Woodlands.

“Mr. Liato is yet to be charged,” Elizabeth Kanjela, a spokesperson for police said. “Investigations are still ongoing.”

Liato is being investigated for concealing a huge amount of money in two metal safes at his farming grounds, west of Lusaka.

He faces money laundering, profiteering and tax evasion charges and could face a long jail term if found guilty.

The new Zambian leader, Michael Sata, has warned that his administration will prosecute any offenders found to have mismanaged state resources – a move his critics have described as witch-hunting.

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Former labour minister, Liato to appear before investigators. PHOTO: ukzambians.co.uk

Hong Kong, Oct. 28 – A Zambian ex-minister who buried 2.1 billion Zambian Kwacha (approx. 420 million US Dollars) at his farm in two metal safes is to turn himself before investigators Tuesday.

Austin Liato – a former minister of labour – has not commented or reported the money missing since it was dug-out from an electrified underground bunker last week Thursday.

A crack taskforce investigating allegation of mismanagement and plunder of public resources during past president Rupiah Banda’s three year reign is expected to formally arrest and charge Liato once he turns himself in.

Investigators are yet to establish the source of the money or why it was buried and concealed under thick layers of concrete.

Zambian leader, Michael Sata described the way the money was hidden as “mafia-style“, hours after it was dug-out.

Hong Kong, Nov. 25 – Zambian President Michael Sata has warned that his administration will prosecute any former officers that served in past president Rupiah Banda‘s government if they are found to have been involved in illicit deals while they served in various portfolios.

President Sata to prosecute plunderers of state resources. PHOTO: afp

“Let me make it abundantly clear that this is just the beginning and our colleagues should not panic or resort to desperate measures of seeking false public sympathy by mischaracterising legitimate investigations as persecution,” he said in a news release Friday. “This is not a witch-hunt, we are moving systematically by taking into consideration all leads and clues into what happened in the past”

President Sata expressed shock at the discovery of and seizure of K2.1 billion (approx. US$400,000) from ex-labour minister, Austin Liato’s farm in the outskirts of the capital, Lusaka.

He said he had learnt with great shock, the discovery of huge sums of money concealed in a strange and most unusual manner at the former labour minister’s farm.

“No doubt, the Mafia-style under which this money was hidden raises serious questions about how the same was acquired. It breaks my heart to see how someone could go to such extremes to conceal money if it was legitimately acquired,” President Sata said. “This only goes to show the Zambian people the extent to which the mandate they gave those they entrusted with authority to preside over affairs of state was abused.”

President Sata said unearthing a total sum of K2.1 billion buried in two steel trunks under a thick layer of concrete slab in a highly fortified and electronically fitted structure sent a wrong signal about the image of the country.

He said Thursday’s burst was one of the many operations the combined team of investigators were carrying out regarding suspected criminal activity that took place under the previous regime headed by Rupiah Banda.

Stacks of Zambian currency - Kwacha.

“Of late, some suspects have been unreasonably grumbling by issuing pre-emptive statements to try and threaten a duly elected government against carrying out its legitimate mandate. This discovery is a serious indictment on all those elements that may be facing possible charges of corruption and other forms of wrong-doing including those who have seen it opportune and convenient to betray the Zambian people by siding with such people,” he said.

He urged the investigating wings to ensure that they follow the due process of the law and take to court only those cases they are satisfied with.

President Sata has since applauded the combined team of Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for conducting a successful operation that resulted in a seizure of K2.1 billion cash at Liato’s Mumbwa farm.