MAURITIUS is a financial enclave, some of our people might have their money there and will be cited; that’s why they are panicking, says Mike Mulongoti.
Commenting on Mauritius’ financial services and good governance minister Dharmendar Sesungkur’s appeal to Zambia’s Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe to reject the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) which has raised serious money laundering activities but not yet made public, Mulongoti wondered whether Zambia gets instructions from another country.
According to a statement from Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba, Sesungkur has appealed to Mwanakatwe to reject the MER, a report done by the Secretariat of the ESAAMLG.
In a letter dated June 25, 2018 and delivered to High Commissioner Mwamba, Mauritius strongly objected to the Mutual Evaluation Report and requested Zambia and other member states to reject it.
Sengukar stated that the report had “numerous incorrect facts and wrong conclusions”.
Mauritius doubted the accuracy and completeness of the information submitted by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Mauritius called for the review of the Report and stated that the report must be withheld until such a time that procedural impropriety and concerns on the issue of quality and consistency are addressed.
In submitting to the evaluation exercise, Mauritius wanted to strengthen its process to fight money-laundering activities but said the evaluation was full of inconsistencies and numerous shortcomings.
ESAAMLG is a regional body subscribing to global standards to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation whose member countries are Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
But opposition People’s Party leader Mulongoti said the meeting exposed some form of criminality and urged Zambians to be alert.
He wondered why someone would be afraid of a report that had not even been made available for scrutiny.
“I do not know whether as a country we get instructions from another country. In fact, if they were polite enough, they could have talked about it quietly on their own because in so doing now, they have alerted us to criminality; so all of us are now on the look out. What is it they are afraid of? A report they have not even received yet and Mauritius as you know is a financial enclave, meaning that a lot of our people have got a lot of money in that country and I am sure they might be cited in the report. It’s a financial enclave, some of our people might have their money there and will be cited and because of that, they are panicking,” said Mulongoti.
“As a people of Zambia, our instruction is very clear…let us receive it [MER], study it. If there are people who are cited, they must face the law; it’s not for them to decide. Mr Mwamba, let him be fair to the people of Zambia. He is in South Africa as High Commissioner on taxpayers’ account so whatever he does, his loyalty must be to Zambians and not individuals.”