TRANSPARENCY International Zambia has condemned calls by the Patriotic Front to disband the Financial Intelligence Centre and prosecution of Mary Tshuma.
TIZ executive director Wesley Chibamba said it was amazing that the party in power was fighting government institutions and civil society.
He has furthermore called on President Edgar Lungu to demonstrate leadership and live by his words when he said “the fight against corruption begins with me.”
Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya last week said the Financial Intelligence Centre’s 2017 Trends Report was only raw data and should be treated as a rumour.
And on a Prime TV programme, PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza called for the disbanding of the Financial Intelligence Centre and arrest of its director for sharing intelligence information publicly.
Mwanza said the FIC boss should be reported to security wings for sharing intelligence information with members of the public.
But TIZ yesterday stated that it was saddened that the party in government was calling for the prosecution of Tshuma who they believed authorised the release of the intelligence report without consulting investigative wings and government.
“Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) is greatly saddened by and condemns the calls from the Patriotic Front to have the Financial Intelligence centre disbanded. TIZ is particularly saddened that the party is even calling for the prosecution of the FIC Head Mrs Mary Tshuma who they believe authorised the release of the intelligence report without consulting investigative wings and government. It is amazing that the party in power is fighting government institutions and civil society are now the ones supporting government entities,” Chibamba stated.
He stated that it was clear that numerous selfish individuals were trying to undermine the work of the FIC so that they could cover up their dirty dealings.
“As an organisation that believes in the autonomy of law enforcement agencies and other statutory bodies, we believe that this is a calculated move by those who are engaging in criminal activities to have this body weakened,” stated Chibamba. “We are alive to the fact that the work of the FIC is critical in the fight against corruption and if anything, this proposal would presently and in the future weaken the fight. Our concern as an organisation is that today it is the FIC, which is under attack, yesterday it was the ACC which was being rubbished and tomorrow it will be the Anti Money Laundering Investigation Unit which will be scrapped. It is unimaginable to think that at a time when corruption is rife under the PF government, such calls are even being contemplated and entertained.”
According to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) 2017 Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing Trends Report, Zambia incurred losses in 2017 linked to financial crimes such as corruption and tax evasion, among others, amounting to a record K4.5 billion.
Data availed in the comprehensive report reveals that among the financial crimes committed last year, tax evasion cases ranked the highest, with an estimated loss of K3.9 billion.
Corruption, especially in public procurement, was second with estimated losses amounting to around K500 million, while money laundering and fraud were found in third and fourth place, with losses amounting to K90.5 million and K3.5 million, respectively.