Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has warned that government will not tolerate the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC)’s indiscipline of sharing intelligence information with the general public without authorisation from “competent authorities”.
And the minister says it is folly to expect that the intelligence information gathered by the FIC would be used in court.
Meanwhile, Kampyongo warned that if government decides to fire FIC Director General Mary Tshuma and Chishimba Kambwili goes ahead with his naked protest in solidarity with her, he will be arrested for public nuisance.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Frank on Hot show, Tuesday, Kampyongo said it was surprising that the FIC would ignore procedure in handling its latest trends report when the institution’s Director was a seasoned officer of the investigative wings, dealing with intelligence in her past employment.
“A whistle blower and an institution are two different things. The Financial Intelligence Centre is a creation of government, it’s not a whistle blower or a non-governmental institution. The FIC is part of government and it’s funded by government. It’s existence is provided for by an Act of parliament, and specifically section five of the Act spells out their mandate of requesting, receiving, analysing intelligence and disseminating this intelligence to competent authorities. The matter of intelligence gathering is only meant to be shared within the authorised circles. The person at the helm of FIC is our former officer who worked with DEC, she was dealing with money laundering. She knows very well what she is supposed to do and it’s a concern to us because this is an officer we knows very well, whose files we still have,” Kampyongo explained.
The minister said it was wrong to expect that the intelligence information gathered by the FIC would be used in court.
“She (TShuma) knows how she is supposed to do her mandate and so we are surprised with what is motivating the new trend of sharing intelligence. You cannot go with intelligence information in the courts of law. If we have intelligence information that Frank Mutubila (show host) is protecting a foreigner, which foreigner is undesirable, this intelligence must be shared with the competent agency, which agency? Immigration, who will investigate. Because this intelligence report in itself is not something that you can go and tender in the courts of law. So you first of all have to investigate and make sure you have got sufficient grounds which you can use to prosecute. So the FIC is not meant to work in isolation, it’s supposed to work and play a supplementary role to the law enforcement agencies. To come today and say ‘these enforcement agencies don’t do anything, would there be a country we call Zambia if the law enforcement agencies were not working?” he asked.
Kampyongo insisted that government would not accept Tshuma and her institution’s indiscipline of sharing intelligence information with NGOs and members of the public before surrendering it to intelligence wings.
He warned the FIC to stop competing with other government institutions and showing off that it was doing a better job than others.
“Our appeal to FIC and our dear lady there (Tshuma), our former officer at Drug Enforcement Commission, you worked with your fellow colleagues at DEC and I don’t see how it should be a challenge for you to sit with a person even if she was your boss at some point, there is no need for competition to show who is holier than who. You cannot achieve anything by trying to be holier than thou, you need to collaborate with the people that you work with in order to make your work meaningful. The FIC is a creation of Ministry of Finance and am sure the Minister of Finance is taking stock of what is obtaining there, because the board is supposed to report to her. How surprising is it? FIC is not an NGO [but] how can NGOs be the ones to receive the report to take to the President? That’s a circus and we can’t tolerate such kind of indiscipline!” Kampyongo exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Kampyongo warned that NDC leader Chishimba Kamwbili, who is also Roan PF member of parliament would be arrested if he went ahead with his naked protest in Tshuma’s solidarity.
“If he (Kambwili) wants to strip naked, I have said here that FIC is a government institution, funded by government. And when government makes decisions to deal with it and if we see that they are breaching certain provisions of the Act that provides for their existence, they will be dealt with within the procedures. And my dear lady who is there, knows very well because she has been subjected to these same procedures when she was under DEC. I am saying it’s indiscipline because you can’t get a report that is a government report and intelligence and give it to institutions that are not authorised. But if my dear brother wants to walk naked, the laws are their to deal with such public nuisance,” Kampyongo warned.
Further, Kampyongo called on Zambians to help government in getting rid of all foreigners trading illegally in Zambia by reporting such cases to relevant authorities.
“We, as government are concerned about our own people. Being in government like we are, is because of Zambians and not foreigners. So our number one priority is to make sure that we listen to our local people and make sure that we protect them. We are committed to ensuring that we help our local people but also need them to help us, because sometimes you may find that a Zambian national owns a shop in COMESA market but then they would be renting out their shop to a foreigner, knowing very well that this person has no documents for their stay in Zambia…” observed Kampyongo.
“I was so surprised when we had our soldiers cleaning the city during the time of cholera, where those Masai people who plait braids were chased from the market, some ladies started calling me saying ‘minister please don’t chase away these people because they help us so much, they are very fast when plaiting and our own Zambians are not able to do that.’ So I wondered and said that’s the problem because you are now the ones who are allowing foreigners to take away what belongs to you. You cannot grow by trading the opportunities that you are given. And I was even lamenting on this issue in Parliament. How will the programme of Zambianisation work out if you are not utilising the opportunities you are begin given? Government cannot be whipping people to say this belongs to you.”