SOUTHERN Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) has applauded calls for continuous lifestyle audits for State officers.
And SANAC says Corruption in Zambia has become endemic and institutionalized. SANAC deputy director-advocacy, Darius Serenje said with glaring revelations of massive corruption and racketeering involving politically exposed persons, his organisation called for continuous lifestyle audits. The 2018 Financial Intelligence Centre report has revealed an increase in cases of suspicious transactions reported which now amount to K6 billion.
The 2018 report states that the centre analysed 176 suspicious transactions reports of which 80 were disseminated to the law enforcement agencies. The report further indicates that the reports covered tax evasion, fraud, corruption and money laundering.
“The total value of the suspected offences in the disseminated cases was estimated ZMW 6.1 billion or about USD520 million. During the year, the FIC disseminated 80 reports of suspected Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing to law enforcement agencies involving suspected financial crimes valued at ZMW 6.1 billion or about USD520 million, which includes assessment by ZRA. The assessment period [was] from 1st January 2018 to 30 September 2018,” the report states.
The report indicates that the reports of offences covered and disseminated included tax evasion of K1 billion, Corruption, K4.9 billion, theft, K110 million, fraud, K54 million bringing it to a total of K6.1 billion.
Serenje said in view of the glaring revelations of massive corruption and racketeering involving politically exposed persons, calls for continuous lifestyle audits for state officers, public office bearers, judicial officers and other category of officers serving in public office should be heightened.
“Our call also extends to the strengthening of the office of the Public Protector, who by virtue of her constitutional powers, is able to investigate any individual serving in public office,” Serenje suggested.
He further suggested to Parliament to consider transforming the FIC from merely an administrative institution to one that with powers to prosecute.
“We stand by the view that the work of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) needs action by the investigative wings. In view of this, we may further wish to make suggestion to Parliament to consider transforming the FIC from merely an administrative FIC into a prosecutorial FIC with powers to prosecute,” Serenje said.
“We have also been made aware by the Attorney General himself that in some instances, he has stopped investigative wings from prosecuting some individuals. It is however our utmost hope that this action by the Attorney General only rests within the circumference of professional advice as opposed to resting on the realm of interference and shielding of criminal elements, which may render the efforts of these agencies futile, thus may even lead to frustration,” Serenje said.
He lamented that the loss of K6.1 billion through dubious activities had a grave bearing on the delivery of public goods and services, whose negative consequences affect the poor, the most.
“Corruption in Zambia has become endemic and institutionalised, resulting in massive lose of public money. Institutionalised corruption can only be fought using strong security and investigative institutions that are devoid of political influence,” said Serenje.
“We also wish to reiterate that this is not a fight against any individual, family or tribe; but the fight against the vice that robs us our wealth and resources. As such there must be deliberate concerted efforts to curb this scourge.”