Liato conviction unfair and unjustified

I have read the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on former Minister of Labour Mr. Liato.

There is no indication of the criminal offence that he committed in order to have the  money and farm confiscated. There is no offence in the law books against having money and keeping it in any manner an individual might deem fit.

The suggestion that mere suspicion that the money may have been obtained by illicit means, without suggesting the nature of offence that may have been committed, begs the question.

Mr. Liato exercised his constitutional right to remain silent. He should not be faulted for keeping quiet because he may have very good reasons for doing so.

The constitution states very clearly in  article 18(7) “A person who is tried for a criminal offence shall not be compelled to give evidence at the trial.”

Those who created the law realised that occassions may arise where an individual may not be at liberty to say anything in his defence because  it may open him to harm. That is why the law exists.

The principle that no statute can be created in contradiction to the supreme law of the land should have been respected by the supreme court which seems to suggest that unless  Mr. Liato spoke, he was then gulty of an unknown offence. But, what offence? That he created suspicion?

Why should supicion be an offence?

A very dangerous precedence has been created by the supreme court because no law enforcement authority will now be required to prove any person guilty, all they have to prove is suspicion.

The supreme court has effectively struck down Article 18(7) which was created by Parliament for a very good purpose.

Something must be done very urgently to rectify this anomaly which may injure many people.

Edson Khondowe.


Categorized | Letters

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