Criminals who have besieged the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) must know that their connections with State authorities will not last forever, says Economist Dr Lubinda Haabazoka.
And Dr Haabazoka the FIC will protect itself by presenting the evidence it has against the criminals trying to shut down the institution.
Commenting on the matter which came to light during a press conference addressed by FIC board acting director John Kasanga in Lusaka yesterday where he confirmed that some criminal elements were targeting senior managers at the institution with false allegations in order to get rid of them, Dr Haabazoka said people should be reminded that connections do not last forever.
“Well, I think that if they want to shut down institutions let them go ahead. Let them shut down the Zambia police, the Drug Enforcement Commission ans also ACC so that we can just continue living in lawlessness. You know, a lot of monies are being lost through dubious tenders and deals and when you look at the height of the problem now, it’s quiet irrelevant to try and close an institution that basically monitors these arrangements. But what people need to know is that despite many cases of evidence being thrown away, there are still some witnesses who might come and testify. So government should just accept the truth,” Dr Haabazoka said.
“I actually think that it is quiet discouraging to hear that we are going to end up in a situation here in Zambia where government institutions can be threatened by people that are so called ‘well connected’. People should be reminded that these connections finish. There is no person that has been connected from 1964 up until today, all connections come and go with time. So people should not think that they are invincible and they will certainly not die with those connections.”
Meanwhile, Dr Haabazoka encouraged officers at the Financial Intelligence Centre to back up their claims of being besieged by ensuring that the criminals are prosecuted.
“I don’t think the intelligence centre has done a lot of things because I have never seen anybody in government who has been jailed or punished for any crime. So I think the institution should come forward with evidence that can be taken to Court so that people can see that it’s actually not a power struggle where the institution is just trying to fight government and maybe to keep their relevance. I think to be very honest I have not heard of any crime that this institution has exposed and that has been taken to Court and people have been arrested, maybe there are those instances and people should forgive me. So for that institution to be seen to be very relevant, this is the time for them to come forward and present that evidence and people should be prosecuted instead of just telling us that there are these people that are fighting us and they are corrupt, that way it’s more like we are dealing with a Katemba (vending kiosk) type of institution,” said Dr Haabazoka.
“So let them come out now and take their matters to Court and people should be prosecuted so that others who in future want to do the same can refrain from going ahead. And if the institution is saying they have got cases of people who are not paying tax, they should show us those things. We need to see those companies that are not paying tax and we will really appreciate if they gave us that information by next week so that we can tell for ourselves if these institutions are truly representing the interests of the Zambian people.”