PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has accused the Financial Intelligence Centre of embarrassing the government through the publication of its 2017 report to the public.
The FIC’s 2017 Trends report released recently has disclosed massive corruption and abuse in government.
But the government and the Patriotic Front has accused the FIC of going against the rules by its release of the report, saying it was not for public consumption. Some ruling party agents have even gone further to call for the disbandment of the FIC board and dismissal of its director Mary Tshuma.
And President Lungu, in a statement issued by State House special assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport shortly before the head of state’s departure for Kenya, claimed that the Financial Intelligence Centre had not submitted its report to his office.
He said the 2017 Trends Report was instead rendered to civil society and members of the general public.
“President Lungu says he regrets that particular details of the FIC findings are with civil society. Heads of civil society boasted at a public forum held at Kapingila House in Lusaka on Wednesday that they would embark on a ‘name and shame’ campaign as details of the investigations of the financial crimes were given to them,” Chanda said on behalf of President Lungu.
And Chanda said President Lungu was not aware that public money had been lost due to tax evasion, fraud, theft and corruption.
“No such reports have been given to him by the Auditor General’s office, Zambia Revenue Authority, or any law enforcement agencies,” Chanda said. “…the FIC Report was not even given to the supervising ministry, Ministry of Finance.”
He said “maybe the sole purpose of rendering the Report to the public was to cause embarrassment to government”, a move he said had since been achieved.
“The Financial Intelligence Act of 2010( as amended in 2016), directs the FIC Director to submit the report to law enforcement agencies and competent authorities such the Zambia Revenue Authority, Minister of Finance and the Head of State.The 2017 Trends Report was launched at Radison Blu by Attorney General Likando Kalaluka as Chairperson of the Anti-Money laundering Authority and FIC Director, Mary Chirwa-Tshuma,” said Chanda, adding that President Lungu found it unfair for civil society to place a burden on him to act on a report that he had not seen.