|Former Labour Minister Austin
Liato, a former Labour minister in the Rupiah Banda
government at whose farm law enforcement agencies found K2.1 billion hidden
underground, appeared before investigators for two hours
and fifteen minutes at the former office of the Task Force on
Asked about his whereabouts since the discovery of the K2.1
billion last Thursday, Liato declined to comment.
“I am not saying
anything,” said Liato as his lawyers and police officers moved in to shield him
while journalists pushed to get quotes from him.
He declined to tell the
journalists the source of his funds and the manner he kept it.
he felt persecuted, Liato responded: “Let us wait for the law to take its
The police quickly whisked him away.
himself to law enforcement agencies at exactly 15:00 hours yesterday for
interrogation in connection with the K2.1 billion unearthed at his farm in
Mwembeshi area in Mumbwa district last Thursday.
Liato, an MMD national
executive committee (NEC) chairman for labour but on suspension over the money
saga, arrived at the former offices of the Taskforce on Corruption in the
company of about six of his relatives, political ally Joseph Mulyata and lawyer
Nelly Mutti, among others.
Liato, whom Inspector General of Police Dr
Martin Malama had urged to come out of hiding after a five-day non-appearance
before investigators, walked aided by a walking stick after disembarking from a
vehicle registration number ABX 5232.
When journalists asked how he was
feeling, the exhausted-looking Liato said: “I am fine. How are
Liato was quickly ushered into the premises of the former Taskforce
on Corruption while his relatives and journalists were told to remain
After the over two-hour interrogation, police and other law
enforcement officers came out with Liato as journalists jostled to interview him
but without success.
The officers later put Liato in a Nissan Hard Body
and drove him to his residence in Kalundu suburb in Lusaka, where the officers
conducted a search.
Earlier in the day, investigators interrogated a
woman suspected to be Liato’s girlfriend.
The woman was interrogated in
the morning at the offices of the former Task Force on Corruption in Lusaka in
connection with the K2.1 billion that was found hidden underground at Liato’s
According to sources, the woman was picked from a bus coming from
Sesheke district in Western Province.
She was interrogated for over an
hour and when she came out and found photojournalists outside the premises, the
woman hid her face and started crying.
Police officers had to help her to
look for a taxi but in the process a lady came with a car and she was whisked
Revenue Authority Commissioner-General Berlin Msiska says the institution is
interested in the K2.1 billion which was unearthed at Liato’s farm by
In a statement yesterday, Msiska stated that ZRA was
interested in the money for accountability purposes.
“Taxation does not
consider whether income is from a legitimate source, such as a business, or not.
It focuses on the fact that income has been received by a person. The key issue
is that the income has been received,” stated Msiska.
“In a nutshell,
what is material is that the income has been paid to, given or accrues to the
person. What is essential is that the income accrues to the person in the
person’s favour, is due to the person or held to the person’s order or on the
person’s behalf. This also applies to income that is in any way disposed of in
accordance with a person’s order or in a person’s favour.”
Msiska, a person’s income is liable to tax on the basis that it has been
received by that person or belongs to that person.
“Tax equity is not
attained and invariably complying taxpayers have to pay taxes for those who are
non-compliant. The government is also deprived of the much-needed resources that
are required for developmental programmes,” he stated.
therefore work, at all times, within its mandate, with the security wings of the
government to ensure accountability regarding the payment of the correct
And investigators also interrogated former permanent Secretary in
the Ministry of tourism Peter Mumba but no details about his probe were
The investigators queried Mumba for about one
When asked about his questioning, Mumba said what he was discussing
with the investigators:
“We were discussing matters of the nation. It’s
too early to disclose what we discussed. The word ‘summoned’ is a very strong
word, I was just asked to come. It’s too early to say. The discussion went
extremely well and I am very happy,” said Mumba.