Revelations by the Financial Intelligence Centre that its staff members are under siege from criminals who are trying to influence the shutdown of the institution so that they can freely conduct money-laundering activities, are nauseating says Green Party President Peter Sinkamba.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) disclosed that week that in the last nine months, the centre recorded 35, 783 suspicious cash transactions involving over US$ 1 billion, which are linked to corporate and individual bank accounts, and for this reason the suspects are scheming removal of senior officials and shutting down the institution.

Sinkamba said the FIC played a key role in combating financial crimes, but regretted that the agency was not empowered to prosecute.

“FIC is the sole designated National Agency mandated to receive, request, analyze and disseminate disclosure of information concerning suspected money laundering, terrorist financing and other serious offences to competent authorities for investigations with the view of assisting with combatting such and other serious offences,” Sinkamba said.

“This news is really nauseating. The trouble is that FIC has no powers to prosecute. It only has powers to receive, request, analyse and disclose such information to other agencies. Of what value is profiling and creating databases of financial crimes and matrices of illicit financial flows, if culprits remain unprosecuted?”

He said Zambia’s financial, trade, and economic needs were not well served by State agencies spying on people solely for data-basing.

“There is a compelling reason to realign the Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) towards economic and financial well-being of Zambia. It is for this reason that the Green Party plans to transform the ZSIS, ACC and DEC into the Zambia Economic and Trade Intelligence Bureau (ZETIB), or in other words to be known as the ‘Eagles’,” said Sinkamba.

“This will be a multi-disciplinary intelligence agency, which will investigate and prosecute organised economic and trade crimes, including money laundering and corruption. It will consist of some of the best prosecutors, financial, trade, economic, forensic and intelligence experts in the country. This will entail re-orienting, retraining some members of the to-be-transformed ZSIS, ACC, to new order where they are stopped from spying, investigating and prosecuting people solely because they hold different views from the government on political and socio-economic issues but rather focus on financial, trade, and economic saboteurs.”