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Gold con men swindle Mulyata, Liato and Mwapela of $12,000
27 November 2011 Sunday 02:41 AM Views: 2053 times
FILE: Former Minister of Labour Austin Liato

Three former ministers in the MMD government have been swindled out of US$12,000 in a fake gold purchase deal.

Zambia Police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela and sources confirmed the trio's misfortune in the failed transaction.

The three involved are former minister of labour Austin Liato, former deputy minister of defence Joseph Mulyata and former minister of Western Province Richard Mwapela.

Kanjela said the gold purchase transaction happened around November 15, 2011 at Marble Inn Lodge in Lusaka.


"It involves the three former ministers Richard Mwapela, Mr Mulyata and Mr Liato. They were swindled of about US$12,000 which is almost K60 million. The suspects were actually arrested," Kanjela said.

"The suspects were six and the police managed to arrest four."

Kanjela named the suspects as Brian David, Mwaka Mui Mahopo, Wasamunu, Elias Ng'andwe, Walubi Situmbeko and the other one only known as Humphrey.

"Apparently, it was resolved that they sort this amicably outside court and a down payment of K45 million was recovered. Since it was agreed that it should be sorted outside the police, the police now can't continue following it up," Kanjela said.

"Something fake was involved and the amount that was upfront paid was US$12,000 and this arrangement happened at Marble Inn Lodge in Rhodes Park in Lusaka."

Sources said Liato, Mulyata and Mwapela had asked the Zambia Police to help them recover their money from the suspects.

"Actually, these former ministers wanted this matter to be handled secretly; they didn't want the media to get wind of it. But we can confirm that our officers handled this embarrassing case involving three former ministers," the source said.

However, Liato angrily denied being swindled despite being told the police had confirmed.

"Who did I complain to? Is that what the police have told you?" Liato retorted. "It's surprising me, you don't just phone somebody and say, 'I am trying to get confirmation' as though there was a complaint from me in that regard. That is a very serious allegation which you cannot just casualise like that. You can't just phone me from nowhere and say, 'you were trying to buy gold, this kind of money...'."

He said information about him buying fake gold was speculation.

"If you don't have facts, it's pointless even to ask somebody. What are you going to pursue? If you have evidence go ahead and write that story; if you don't have evidence don't write it because I am not going to take that kind of writings. You can't just pick up a pen and start writing things which are not authentic and say I have facts. What facts?" Liato said.

"If you think that someone was buying gold, find who was buying the gold but if you are going to attribute that story to me and say I was trying to buy gold, you better have your facts right. Dont just call me. You are speculating."

When reminded that the police had confirmed that Mulyata, Mwapela and himself had been swindled, Liato maintained his arguments.

"If you have facts about what you are talking about, you write. If you are just speculating or you are fishing in the dark, don't do it because I am not going to sit here and allow you take a pen and mess up my name," said Liato.

When contacted, Mulyata laughed about the fake gold transaction.

"Aaah, where is that story from? (laughs). I am not even aware about what you are talking about. Who is creating such stories kansi? That is not true; I don't know anything about that. That is news to me. I don't know," said Mulyata.

Meanwhile, Mwapela said he had no information about the fake gold transaction, saying Liato or Mulyata might know something about the issue.

"I am not aware about that. I am in Kalabo in Western Province. Where did you get that information?" said Mwapela, but when told that the police had confirmed, he responded: "No! No! No! I am not aware about that information, maybe Honourable' Mulyata or Liato, me I am in Kalabo."

When reminded about the date when the swindlers conned him and his colleagues, Mwapela responded: "15th November? I am not aware about that. No-one has told me about that, sure. Otherwise I would have told you."



 
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