, LUSAKA, Jul 26 – Zambia’s former labour minister Austin Liato, in court Thursday after being arrested this week on corruption charges, denied that he had used his office to divert public resources to his private farm.
“I understand the charge but I deny,” Liato told magistrate David Simusamba in a Lusaka court.
Liato, who served under former leader Rupiah Banda, was in May jailed for two years after a court found him guilty of concealing $400,000 found buried on his farm in December last year.
Out on bail pending an appeal, he was again arrested Tuesday on new charges that he had two water wells and two grinding mills installed on his farm, when they were meant for a nearby community.
The trial is scheduled to start on October 1.
Speaking to journalists after the court released him on bail, Laito denounced his arrest on Tuesday.
“This will not go on for too long because it’s pure political harassment. The truth will come out,” he said.