SOME civil society organisations yesterday delivered copies of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report to State House to ensure that President Edgar Lungu acts on the alleged corruption and abuse of public resources.
The CSOs have been forced to physically deliver copies of the report following President Lungu’s announcement that he had not received the report. The NGOs that delivered the reports include the Alliance for Community Action (ACA), Caritas, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) Action-Aid, and NGOCC.
Speaking at the airport shortly before departure for Kenya on Thursday, President Lungu said he could not act on a report that he had not received.
He accused the FIC of having submitted the report to the CSOs and social media.
President Lungu said the 2017 Trends report which was launched at Radisson Blue by Attorney General Likando Kalaluka as chairperson of the Anti-Money laundering Authority was not given to Minister of Home Affairs, or law enforcement agencies but instead rendered to civil society and members of the general public.
President Edgar Lungu has said that he was not aware that public monies were lost due to tax evasion, fraud, theft and corruption as no such reports had been given to him by the Auditors General’s office, Zambia Revenue Authority, or any law enforcement agencies. This is according to a statement issued by State House Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
And Lungu said the FIC report was not even given to the supervising ministry, Ministry of Finance. He said it was unfair for civil society to place a burden on him to act on a report that he has never seen. He said if the report was meant to be given to law enforcement agencies and competent authorities for action, it could have been given.
He said perhaps the sole purpose of rendering the report to the public was to cause embarrassment to government, whose purpose has 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.
According to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) 2017 Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing Trends Report, released last Thursday, Zambia incurred losses in 2017 linked to financial crimes such as corruption and tax evasion, among others, amounting to a record-breaking K4.5 billion. Data availed in the comprehensive report reveals that among the financial crimes committed last year, tax evasion cases ranked the highest, with an estimated loss of K3.9 billion incurred.
Corruption, especially in public procurement, was second with estimated losses amounting to around K500 million, while money laundering and fraud were found in third and fourth place, with losses amounting to K90.5 million and K3.5 million, respectively