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48 flats case a litmus test for country’s preparedness to curb corruption – TIZ

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia says the case of the 48 flats should not just close at seizure and forfeiture of the properties.

TIZ chapter president Rueben Lifuka stated that the manner the Anti-Corruption Commission and other investigative agencies handle the matter should send strong signals on Zambia’s preparedness to curb all corruption associated with the real estate sector.

Lifuka welcomed the statement by the ACC to continue collaborating with other investigative agencies in pursuing the criminal investigations against the owner of the 48 flats.

“We consider this an important development as it is our position that this matter should not just close at seizure and forfeiture of the property in question. We want to remind ACC and all law enforcement agencies that the real estate market has long provided a way for individuals to secretly launder or invest stolen money and other illicitly gained funds,” he said.

“This case is a litmus test and the manner that ACC and all other investigative agencies handle this, should send strong signals on the preparedness of this country to curb all corruption associated with the real estate sector. Alongside this investigation, it is imperative that government embarks on strengthening the rules and enforcement practices and therefore reduce the risks of having anonymous companies or trusts easily acquire property and launder money through the real estate sector.”

Lifuka recommended that the government working with the Zambia Institute of Real Estate agents and other relevant bodies should strengthen the professional codes so as to ensure that all professionals involved in real estate activities are required to identify the actual person who is the beneficial owner of the property as part of their due diligence.

He said mechanisms should equally be put in place to ensure that only professionals who pass the fit and proper test, work in the real estate sector. Presently, there are too many people involved in this sector, including those not qualified and some with ill intentions,” said Lifuka.

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