President Edgar Lungu has revoked the appointment of George Chilengwe Siame as chairperson of the Financial Intelligence Centre governing board, State House press aide Isaac Chipampe has announced.
“In his his letter to Siame, President Lungu stated: ‘I am hereby revoking this appointment with immediate effect. I thank you and wish God’s blessings in your future endeavours.’ stated Chipampe in a brief statement, Wednesday, barely a day after the appointment was made.
Siame was appointed alongside Justice Prisca Matimba Nyambe, SC, Pelagia Kalunga, Dr Mike Goma and Regina Kasonde Mulenga.
Before the President revoked the appointment of Siame, governance activist Brebner Changala told News Diggers that the move signified the end of the FIC’s professionalism in receiving, requesting, analysing and disseminate information concerning illicit financial activities.
Changala challenged law enforcement agencies in the country to tell Zambians if Siame had been cleared of the criminal activities he committed while working as ZRA deputy Commissioner before he could be allowed to sit at the centre of intelligence gathering.
In an interview, Changala regretted that FIC was being relegated to the level of other institutions of governance that had been destroyed under the President’s watch.
“I want to say one thing to President Edgar Lungu, there is a limit to which you can abuse people. People who gave you power and you have decided to abuse that power. What you have been doing lately is not noble, you have been abusing the people’s mandate. How can you replace John Kasanga with George Siame? We know very well that your desire is to destroy all institutions of governance, FIC was the only institution that became a thorn in your flesh and on the 10th of September, 2019, you decided to strike and strike where it pains most on the people of Zambia. But I want to remind you that human spirit is stronger than any devilish desire and conspiracy against the same people who gave you the chance to govern them,” Changala said.
“John Kasanga and his colleagues, Mary Chirwa and others were a gift of God to the people of Zambia , how can you deliver to us today a team that is there only to serve your interests? The only consolation one might have there on the new appointments is Justice Nyambe, a career banker and a noble judge. But through your malice Mr Lungu, you subordinate Judge Nyambe to George Siame! These are too far apart,if you were sincere and you really loved this country, Judge Nyambe should have been the Chairperson of the Financial Intelligence Centre. But you can’t do that because you want people of low caliber to head sensitive institutions like FIC. But then there will be a day to account because all these appointments and changes are deliberate to destroy our young cherished democracy.”
Changala said FIC would now become just as toothless as the rest of the country’s law enforcement agencies due to political interference.
“Now the Financial Intelligence Centre as from today joins other institutions of governance that are limping or literally destroyed under your watch and with your instructions Mr President. The ACC is nothing to talk about, the DEC can try here and there but there is nothing to talk because corruption is just flourishing, Parliament is on its knees, the judiciary is a spectator in the face of injustice, the Executive now is the almighty that will make every citizen dance. But the question is, for how long are we going to tolerate this chaos that you have brought on the people of Zambia? You have destroyed the economy, you have destroyed our national unity, you have destroyed the pride of this country. Zambians are looking like strangers in their own country and credit must go to you Mr President for this,” said Changala.
Siame is said to have been fired twice from the Zambia Revenue Authority for among reasons, beating up the Authority’s Human Resource Director Roselyne Raelly.
In 2011, The Lusaka High Court ordered Siame, the former Zambia Revenue Authority(ZRA) assistant commissioner for customs, to pay a fine of K1 million as compensation for assaulting Raelly, and to pay an extra K500, 000 to the court.
In passing his judgment, Magistrate Banda ordered that Siame pays the fee within a week or serve five months in default. He said the K1 million compensation would be for Ms Raelly’s medical expenses that she endured as a result of a beating by Siame.