Transparency International Zambia has welcomed the publication of the Mutual Evaluation Report on Anti Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing measures in Zambia by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group.
TIZ President Reuben Lifuka says this is a timely development particularly coming at a time when the nation is gripped with unnecessary debate and attempts instigated mainly by Politically Exposed Persons and political cadres who feel threatened by the work of the Financial Intelligence Centre and therefore seek to jettison the relevance and importance of this entity.
“We continue to witness unprecedented levels of attacks not only on the FIC but the Director-General and in the process, the whole essence of why this institution was set up is lost in the political noise being generated by people including Government leaders who should ideally be the bulwark against such baseless attacks on the FIC”, Mr. Lifuka said.
He said the Mutual Evaluation Report provides an objective analysis of the state of play for Anti Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing and it will be amiss for Government and especially President Lungu and his team not to take this report seriously and carefully consider the recommendations provided.
Mr. Lifuka has noted a couple of important points raised in the Mutual Evaluation Report which was formally adopted by the Council of Ministers of ESAAMLG which interestingly includes the Zambian Minister of Finance.
He said the Report confirms a matter of serious concern that the five highest proceed generating predicate offences are corruption, tax evasion, fraud and drug trafficking which includes in the National Risk Assessment conducted in 2017, identified corruption as one that generates the highest amount of criminal proceeds among all predicate offences and the resultant money laundering threat that this brings.
“For a while now, we have been raising this concern about the high levels of corruption in this country and what we have not seen from Government are urgent actions to attend to this scourge. Government continues to be pedestrian in its response to ever-rising levels of corruption, especially in the public service. Our leaders’ take on corruption is worryingly nonchalant despite the severe consequence of corruption on society”, he lamented.
Mr. Lifuka has since reiterated his call on President Edgar Lungu to rethink the current anti-corruption strategy adding that all Zambians should be of one common resolve that corruption is no longer a matter for mundane debate and it is a betrayal of public confidence for leaders to vacillate on this question- the fight against corruption today needs strong decisive action.