CTPD Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo says instead of attacking the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for releasing a financial fraud report involving K4.5 billion, government would do better by stopping the pilferage of public resources.

Speaking in an interview with News Diggers, Mwaipopo said the attacks on the FIC’s decision to release its report before availing it to government were uncalled for.

“I think the ongoing threats against the operations or the workings of the Financial Intelligence Centre are uncalled for and from the civil society we think that the Financial Intelligence Centre has been doing a brilliant job in giving out information and giving out a good picture in terms of what exactly might be happening within the financial sector that also gives us a lead in terms of how resources are moving. If you look at the 2017 report by the financial intelligence Centre, it actually gives clear examples of how the systems have actually broken down especially when it comes to public procurement,” Mwaipopo said.

He said it was time for government to introspect on the next course of action to take against individuals cited in the FIC report.

“So instead of attacking an institution that gives an idea that there is more work that needs to be done, we think that a number of institutions including government might do well to do an introspection in terms of what needs to be done to strengthen the system so that we put a close in terms of the pilferage of public finances. If you look at our country, it’s actually struggling to finance development and the struggle is due to a number of challenges among them which includes the high debt that we have accumulated as a country and we are in the process of repaying some of the loans that we have acquired,” he said.

Mwaipopo said it was easy for the law enforcement agencies to track individual officials said to have bought personal vehicles through proceeds of crime using the RTSA system.

“So if you have an institution that gives you an idea to say besides the challenges around financing development, there is also a loss when it comes to resources. There is need to put a close and embrace them and get information and make very good use of that information. The Financial Intelligence have done their work, what is needed is for the law enforcement agencies or institutions to take up the cases and to prove whether the allegations that have been made or the information that has been shared by the financial intelligence centre is material or not material. For now we shouldn’t focus more attention in terms of attacking an institution, but the focus would be to pick up the cases and prove if they are material or not, bearing in mind that they have clearly stipulated and even given hints,” said Mwaipopo.

“If you look at the report there are examples of individuals that illegally obtained contracts from government and part of the proceeds in terms of tracking them so that part of the proceeds were actually used to buy various vehicles, of which the Financial Intelligence Centre actually indicated that the vehicles in question were registered in an individual’s name, meaning that you can easily track them from institutions like RTSA and establish if at all the vehicles were bought using proceeds of crime. So what we might need to focus on is to prove whether what has been shared is material or not, otherwise they have done their job.”