The Dr Banda writes…

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Dr Banda

All people are averse to being exposed when they are deliberately engaged in an immoral or illegal act.

Sins are best kept hidden.

Such required exposure, if it is for the good of the collective, the community, runs counter to their egotistical or nefarious interests.

However, when one’s sins endanger an entire village, such conduct must NOT only be exposed to set the required precedents but it must also be stopped, and the culprit should be appropriately sanctioned.

The Financial Intelligence Centre [FIC] is a required fixture in any civilised society.

For purposes of civilising Zambians and the encouragement of required behaviour, it surely has its place in Zambia.

Those citizens that created it deserve our highest commendation for they meant well for the Republic of Zambia.

They put in place one of the required building blocks of a sound nation.

The guilty, you see, will always be afraid.

And in this case, it the guilty that are afraid, it is they that are so rattled that they are now exposing themselves by openly fidgeting, and by their irrational and disruptive noises that they are now making.

They are saying that the FIC is spreading rumour and promoting gossip. They are even, unabashedly, calling for it now to be abolished.

Even the Drug Enforcement Commission [DEC], which should collaborate with the FIC and be strengthened by the FIC’s activities, is now behaving in a dysfunctional and shameful manner by publicly attacking a fellow team member, a partner government department, conduct akin to washing dirty linen in public, like telling friends at the pub that one’s wife is frigid, utterly uncouth behaviour to be frowned upon.

This discomforting drama cannot be resolved by premature, inane and emotional utterances from the DEC.

It can only discussed quietly and soberly in government boardrooms by the Minister of Home Affairs and his colleague, the Minister of Finance.

The FIC has done nothing wrong.

It’s entire behaviour is in keeping with the provisions of our Republican Constitution.

According to Part II (5) of the FIC Act No. 46 of 2010, their receipt, analyses and periodic publications of all suspicious financial transactions in Zambia is clearly in keeping with this subsidiary legislation.

The FIC is not spreading rumour nor promoting gossip.

It is merely doing its job. It is actually promoting honesty, accountability, and all other national values and principles.

It is encouraging required national debate.

From the pulpit, one could say that the FIC is a dear friend and ally of righteousness. All decent and under-sinning clergymen and women should therefore come to its defence.

But then darkness will always tremble at the sight of light. Nothing surprising there. Hence, the discomfort and hue and cry.

Anyone who has been made uncomfortable or is rattled by the work of the FIC and its reports is a veritable danger to patriotism and nationalism. Any such person is an enemy of our State.

Further, to the uninitiated, there is nowhere in the FIC Act where it says that the FIC should withhold the names of these suspicious creatures requiring investigations.

That presently the FIC has opted NOT to name the culprits at issue is their own discretion perhaps motivated by their own yet illegitimate religious beliefs but which conduct is at variance with the very law governing its existence.

The FIC is supposed to name all persons it has in its basket of suspects.

However, perhaps as a procedural step, prior to its publishing its reports, the FIC should have in-house discussions with all law enforcement agencies to furnish these with its findings and prompt further required action. Nonetheless, such interactions with law enforcement agencies must NOT result in the gagging or censoring of these findings.

If we all went about our every day activities ‘naked’, there would be no rumour or gossip. The trouble is we wear clothes and hide many things, charms, our own powerlessness, emptiness and ill-will.

However, when this practice of hiding our behaviour is at variance with community or societal wellbeing, institutions such as the FIC become relevant and inevitable. They must exist.

In the midst of proliferating covert community-harming dealings by corporate entities or individuals, institutions such the FIC become like oxygen, they become the only community life-support fixtures that save lives.

Exposing a witch discomforts only the witch, but when the wicked are exposed, the whole village rejoices.

We must all feel for the FIC workers. Their work isn’t easy but then it will never be. Their peace of mind therefore must be a product of our collective realisation of their importance in our lives.

The people must protect the FIC.

Evil will always act big, brag and boast of power but when good comes, it will always shrivel, wilt, cower and disappear altogether.

The FIC then is on the right side of both history and human existence.

Fear NOT, fellow citizens.

What the FIC has reported is required information but merely constitutes an inconvenient truth.

Further, these reports by the FIC will, over time, lead to an increase in the hoarding of money and bank-avoidance as individuals at issue will attempt to leave no money flow-trails. To counter this, a strategic and periodic change is currency features might help. For US dollars, subtle and sophisticated ways of currency tagging should be used or devised.

This isn’t an easy task.
But it is worthy and inevitable.

The Republican President His Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu should be duly commended for allowing the FIC to perform its functions freely as this clearly illustrates his respect for our Republican Constitution and his commitment to fighting corruption and creating a Zambia in keeping with its national values and principles.

In conclusion, kindly note that the greater the anger in the community against the FIC the higher the levels of corruption in our society.

Ill-will against the FIC is directly proportional to just how rotten or cancerous we might be as a people.

Dr Canisius BANDA
Former UPND Vice President for Politics
Development Activist