(By Edwin Mbulo in Namwala)
FINANCIAL Intelligence Centre director Mary Chirwa is brave, candid but a bit diplomatic, says chief Mukuni. He feels Chirwa should have said PF are thieves. And chief Hamusonde of Bweengwa east of Monze says Chirwa has shown how a Zambian who is hurt by the PF’s high corruption and theft can talk. Responding to critics of the FIC 2018 trends report, Chirwa said people with criminal minds would not distract her as there was nothing unprofessional in what FIC did.
In an interview in Mbeza before the burial of senior chief Bright Nalubamba yesterday, the two chiefs dismissed the PF leadership’s responses to the Financial Intelligence Centre’s latest report.
“She (Chirwa) was very good in her response, she was candid, but a bit diplomatic. She should have said that they are thieves worth a prison cell,” chief Mukuni of Kazungula, Livingstone and Zimba said.
He said the ruling party was full of criminals.
“People in PF have stopped seeing the colours of their pants and we need to remind them as Chirwa did, but we need to do it boldly than she did,” said Mukuni. “We need to tell them that they are thieves and that their pants are red out of the blood of those that they killed like the UNZA student Vespers [Shimunzhila]. The question we need to ask is how many more are they going to kill and how much more are they going to steal?”
And Hamusonde said Chirwa was a brave and honest woman who should be emulated by all Zambians.
“She has greatly mesmerised me and I would like to commend her for a good job done by FIC. It is what Zambia needs. Anyone despising this report should be ashamed,” said Hamusonde. “Just imagine a sane leader saying ‘name the ministers’. How about our own AG (Auditor General’s) report; how many names have been mentioned? They need to tell us first before despising or going berserk about the FIC report.”
The latest FIC report details suspected money laundering, corruption, and bribery involving K6.1 billion. Responding to critics of the report, Chirwa said the centre has been working according to “how we are supposed to and we would not be distracted.”
She said she was conversant with her mandate and would not be distracted.
“Believe you me, I would not be distracted by somebody who has a criminal mind and has put themselves, fit themselves in the pieces of the case study. I would not be distracted because first and foremost, I know what my mandate is. I know how to carry out that mandate. I have been trained to do this work. I would not be deterred by somebody talking, I am paid to work and that’s what I am going to do,” Chirwa said in an interview with The Mast.
She vowed to continue carrying out her work in accordance with her mandate.
Chirwa further said FIC’s major responsibility was to safeguard the integrity of financial systems and the country thus would not be derailed by those who were scared to be exposed.
“Whether they talk or don’t talk, we will continue doing what need to do and disseminate the information because the major responsibility we have is to safeguard the financial systems, to safeguard our country and therefore we should not be distracted by people who are fearful of being known that they are doing bad. Even us when we see these names, we start thinking that, okay probably we need to start looking into them because for these names to appear, it means there is something we need to do. They are just flagging some information to us well in this same process,” said Chirwa.
“For me the issue is just to stick to the truth and the truth will set us free. What I really see is a situation where people are confused with the difference between an intelligence report and trends report and secondly the purpose of the trends report. I didn’t expect that this year we would have all these statements and disagreements on what the truth is because we have endeavoured to engage different stakeholders to make them understand.”