Financial Intelligence Centre under siege from “criminals in high places”

Filed under: Breaking News |

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has made a startling revelation that some influential individuals are trying to shut down the institution so that they can continue committing crimes unabated.

Speaking at a media briefing FIC board acting director John Kasanga warned that a weakened FIC will enable the said elements to continue to commit crimes without any records and that by doing so law enforcement agencies will find it difficult to prosecute them.

He said the institution will not be distabilised as long as government continues to support it.

“A weakened FIC will enable such elements to continue to commit crimes without anyone recording what they have done, or putting together the evidence required by law enforcement agencies to prosecute them. But what these individuals don’t realise is that the FIC knows who they are because their activities are documented. What has been documented cannot be erased by eliminating individual members of staff of the FIC,”

“So they can try and destabilise, but as long as we continue to have government support over the ideals of maintaining the FIC that information will always be there for anyone to use if they want to prosecute. So trying to threaten individuals will not help. The best they can do is to stop getting involved in criminal activities; that is the answer. We would like to assure the public that the FIC remains undaunted and we remain committed to discharging our mandate professionally and without fear of favour,” he said.

Kasanga appealed to stakeholders to work with the institution so as to ensure that criminals are brought to book.

“Our appeal to stakeholders especially reporting entities and law enforcement agencies, is to work with us collaboratively and to always put the national interest at the centre of what they do as they discharge their mandates. If they do that, a lot of the problems that we are facing could be much more easily addressed because we would fight together. We should not provide hiding places for criminals. In other words, we must say no to corruption, at least not on my turf.”

The press briefing comes on the toes of a media report which revealed that the institution was being fought by known elements.

On Monday, News Diggers! revealed that Lusaka lawyer Lewis Mosho had started the process of removing FIC director general Mary Tshuma, by raising criminal charges against her.

And Mr Kasanga said his institution picked up a number of suspicious transitions in the financial sector.

“For example, with companies and established businesses, we noted withdraws which were large amounts of cash. There were about 8,277 such transactions, involving K1.8 billion and on the dollar side, US$8.8 million. Coming to cash deposits which also didn’t add up, especially those entities that you know that they would not ordinarily be trading in cash. We had 17,000 such transactions, involving K3.6 billion and, wait for it, US$ 883million, you know what that amount is; just below a billion dollars,” Kasanga said, adding that there were several other millions of dollars detected in unclassified cash transactions involving companies and individuals.

“With regards to individuals, the suspicious transactions that were of concern to us, we picked up 1,884 transactions and those involved, K483.8 million and then US$6.4 million. So we have a lot of individuals playing around with a lot of cash. And when it came to deposits, we picked up about 3,369 transactions which involved K548 million and on the dollar front, wait for it, US$71,9 million dollars that people are playing around with. These suspicious transactions were processed by our financial institutions and what is significant about this is that they are based on people transacting in cash, which makes it difficult to trace the source of the money. And for those who are paying, you don’t know who is being paid from these withdrawals,” he said.

Meanwhile FIC Director General Mary Tshuma said senior members of stuff at the institution were living under fear as they have been threatened.

“Threats have been part of our lives. I can confirm that we do receive such kind of threats, but I cannot say that there is a court case that is going on against any FIC officer that has been established as yet. But threats have been received by difference officers of the centre,” she said.


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