President Edgar Lungu has appointed former Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) deputy commissioner George Siame as the new Financial Intelligence Centre board chairperson.

Announcing the development, Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu cautioned the new board against interfering with the work of the FIC.

Dr Ng’andu said at a media briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, that government expected the new board to continue with initiatives that embellished Zambia among countries with best practices in financial intelligence.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has appointed a new Board for the Financial Intelligence Center in accordance with section 6g of the FIC Act number 46, of 2010. The appointments come on the back of the end of tenure of the previous board in January, 2019. In this regard, I thank Dr John Kasanga, for his contribution as interim Board chair. I also thank the other members of the previous Board for their tireless efforts in furtherance of the objectives of the FIC. The new members appointed by the president are: Hon Justice Prisca Matimba Nyambe, SC, Ms Pelagia Kalunga, Dr Mike B. Goma, Ms Regina Kasonde Mulenga, and Mr George Chilengwa Siame is the new FIC Board chairperson,” Dr Ng’andu disclosed.

“Congratulations on your deserved appointments. I have no doubt that with your diversity and experience, you will be equal to the task and continue to make FIC the leading institution in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.”

He the new has a duty to uphold the operational independence of the institution as this is one of the requirements by the international anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism standards on the operation of the financial intelligence units.

“Corporate governance requires that the Board of Directors limit their roles to policy oversight and leave operational matters to the employees of the institution. You need to ensure that you do not interfere with the operations of the institution. Coordinate the role of the FIC among national AML institutions. You will note as you settle that the FIC is the secretariat of the national Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) task force of senior officials which is chaired by the Ministry of Finance. They coordinate domestic, regional and international AML/CFT matters and latitude should be accorded to them to ensure the country is not lagging in implementing AML/CFT standards. So far, they have done extremely well by coordinating the recent mutual evaluation for Zambia,” said Dr Ng’andu.

“International accreditation of the FIC in September 2018, the FIC was admitted as a member of EGMONT group, following a rigorous assessment by the international community on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism, as to whether the FIC was operating in line with the international standards. Zambia’s application to become a member of EGMONT group as required by the global anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism standards commenced in 2014. Over the years, Zambia underwent several rigorous assessments to determine the country’s readiness for membership which assessments have yielded positive results. The government expects the Board to continue with initiatives that embellish Zambia among countries with best practice in financial intelligence.”