Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says criminals go away scot free in Zambia because law enforcement agencies lack capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute white collar crimes.

And All People’s Congress leader Nason Msoni says corruption can only be reduced with the introduction of capital punishment for offenders caught mishandling public finances.

In an interview, Kabimba insisted that both the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission lacked capacity to fight financial crimes.

“White collar crimes all over the world is a specialized field. In the UK, they have got what I think they call the fraud and financial crimes unit and yet they have Scotland Yard, they have M15, M16. In the USA, [they have] FBI, they have the CIA, they have different investigating agencies but white collar crime still has a specialized agency,” Kabimba said.

“We don’t have the capacity here whether in the Drug Enforcement Commission or the Anti-Corruption Commission to fight white collar crime which is the bedrock of corruption, we don’t have that capacity and that is why we have difficulties. I don’t believe that people that get acquitted on corruption charges by the courts or the Judiciary are necessarily innocent. They do get acquitted because of lack of capacity in our prosecutors to investigate and prosecute white collar crimes.”

Kabimba said disbanding the Financial Intelligence Centre and making it a department under DEC, as proposed in the the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019 would not solve this crisis.

“So it does not matter even if you got FIC and abolished that and took to the Drug Enforcement Commission, you are not solving the problem. The problem is get those young men and women and give them specialized training and that is what I suggested myself when I was Minister of Justice that we must set up a fraud and financial crimes unit and get young men and women to go and train so that they understand how this crime moves from the domestic jurisdiction up to the international level and vice versa,” said Kabimba.

“It takes years even in developed countries to nab someone over a white collar crime, it takes years of investigation because of the complicity of the crime itself and the network and the crime itself so you can’t just take it to the Magistrates’ Court and you go and read kama (a little) charge under the Penal Code and start prosecuting, you are just wasting time.”

And Msoni proposed the introduction of capital punishment for those abusing state resources.

“We have to do it to restore confidence in public institutions and bring sanity in the way we run our public service. In reality, it is corruption that is killing a lot of people. The majority of our young people are prematurely consigned to their graves because of graft. Changing and recycling a few criminals in government will not solve corruption in government. We have to go to the source or root cause of our current circumstances. How do we fix it? What is the long term solution? Obviously capital punishment is the only panacea to the problem and is the necessary evil needed to fix the problem,” said Msoni in a separate interview.

“Zambia needs to up the game to stem theft and abuse of public funds. We must advocate for capital punishment as a deterrent for corruption. The lack of medicines in hospitals has everything to do with corruption in the procurement process. Citizens are needlessly losing lives due to corruption. China has emerged from the underdevelopment stage because it has dealt with the question of corruption decisively. Corrupt criminals are executed mercilessly in China. The Chinese bring their corruption to Africa because in Africa corruption is treated with soft gloves. In essence corrupt criminals buy justice for themselves and enjoy the loot later after being bogusly acquitted after depriving the public of the much needed resources. Thieves are even celebrated as heroes. Africa as a continent needs to push for the re-introduction of capital punishment for criminals as a deterrent if it is to win the fight against poverty and underdevelopment.”