Zambia likely to lose out on financial intelligence – Mundubile

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Northern Province Minister Brian Mundubile says government may not benefit anything from the Financial Intelligence if the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) and law enforcement agencies “live in a community that is divided”.

Mundibile, who is also PF Chairman of the Legal Subcommittee of the Central Committee, observes that unless the FIC and agencies of law enforcement harmonise their operations and stop jeopardising each other’s work their intended goals may not be achieved.

Speaking in Kasama, Wednesday, Mundubile said if the FIC and law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) the Police and others are divided, their operations are likely to  leave room for corruption, loss of credible evidence and that some people being investigated may even flee the country.

“According to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2016,  in 2(a) a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) is an individual who holds ,or has held public office and includes a Head of State, Minister or Deputy, a Politician or a political Party official including a Judicial Official, a senior official of Quasi – Judicial body, a Military official, a member of an administrative, management or supervisory body of a state owned enterprise.

“This also includes an individual who is or has been entrusted with a public function by the State, public body or local or international organisation, an immediate family member of a PEP or their close associates and this should not be misconstrued in a narrow sense even to the extent of believing that a PEP is a politician.”

Clarifying on the functions of the FIC, the Legal Chairman of the ruling PF said, as per 5 (2)e of the FIC, its mandate is to educate the public and reporting entities of their obligations and inform them of measures to detect, prevent and deter money laundering and financing of terrorism but this does not mean jeopardising the work of Law Enforcement Agencies to the extent of alerting culprits in the investigations.

He said even if they are no names are mentioned the culprits know themselves and their activities and could easily destroy evidence or flee the country.
He likened the opperations of FIC to that of Canada.

“According to the annual report of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), its mandate is to ensure it receives the information it needs to generate financial intelligence for Canada’s Police, Law enforcement and  National Security Agencies.

“Nada Semaan, Director and Chief Executive Officer reported that over the past year, 2017-2028, FINTRAC provided 2,466 disclosures of questionable financial intelligence support of money laundering and terrorist financing investigations across the country.

“Its mandate as a financial Intelligence Unit of Canada, FINTRAC ensures that it safeguards the information that it receives and discloses to Canada’s Police, Law Enforcement and National Security Agencies while the Centre understands that the protection of privacy is critical to maintaining the confidence of Canadians. It is very particular in reporting on the trends of crime and ensures that the public is not alerted or fore warned.”

He observed that the differences between FIC and DEC was jeopardizing their own work.

“The Drug Enforcement Commission now argues that its concerned with the manner the FIC publishes raw intelligence data to the public which could jeopardise investigations.

“DEC says the FIC report should not have been published in the manner it has been  in the past few years and feel the information should have been disseminated to the rightful audience in line with a well throughout communication strategy to avoid speculation and undue pressure on the investigative wings,” he said.

He added that DEC’s view was that the publication of raw intelligence data actually compromises investigations by law enforcement agencies.

“The FIC and law enforcement agencies need to harmonise their operations in order that investigations are not jeopardised which would result into the country not benefiting anything from the  financial intelligence reports. The parties need to coexist so that  their overall  congruent goals are achieved because consequently, that is the desire of the people of Zambia,” he said.

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