Attacks on FIC worry Zitukule

Zitukule Consortium executive director Nicholas Phiri has expressed serious concern over unwarranted attacks on the leadership of Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in the wake of disturbing revelations of grand theft and corruption.

In a statement, Tuesday, Phiri noted that some people who were attacking the leadership of the Centre were subjects of “questionable dealings” bordering on fraud, which they had not fully accounted for.

He warned that Zambia risked becoming a “mafia state” where corrupt and criminal elements in government and civil society ganged up with economic interest groups against public good and independent public institutions to cover their clandestine activities.

He observed that it was strange how some people were showing more anger over the FIC trends report instead of focusing on its critical and revealing contents.

“We have noted with concern that the leadership of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has been on the receiving end of unwarranted attacks from some sections of society following the revelation of systematic criminal activities by the Centre involving especially Politically Exposed Persons. As Zitukule Consortium, we are concerned that those attacking the Centre have shown more anger at the act of publishing the trends report that exposes theft, corruption and all manner of graft in public resource management, than they have shown anger at the looting going on in the public space. We find this behaviour very strange,” Phiri stated.

He insisted that the FIC report was in line with public and national interest.

“Zambia risks becoming a mafia state where corrupt and criminal elements in the domain of the state, government and civil society gang up with economic interest groups against public good and independent public institutions to cover their clandestine activities. Some of the people attacking the leadership of the Centre are subjects of questionable dealings bordering on fraud, which they have not fully accounted for. It is, therefore, unacceptable that such elements should today become champions of the law, which in essence they don’t have respect for simply because it threatens to expose illicit activities,” stated Phiri.

“From where we stand, the FIC report was and is in line with public and national interest. While respect for the law is imperative for good governance, it must serve the best interest of the populace. Any law that facilitates instead of discourages theft must be trashed. Nowhere does the FIC Act criminalize publication of public interest information. We are calling upon all well-meaning Zambians to question those attacking the Centre whose interest they are serving? What is happening today is testimony that if citizens continue to remain on the side-lines of governance, those involved in graft will stop at nothing to defend their looting ways. It’s time to say enough is enough.”

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