The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has submitted, before the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019, that the name of the commission should be changed to “Anti-Drugs, Economic, Financial Crimes Agency”.

And DEC wants to be recognized as a national security agency.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Select Committee at Parliament buildings, Monday, DEC Senior Assistant Commissioner (Anti-Money Laundering Unit) Solomon Ngoma and Principal State Advocate Joseph Akapelwa argued that the commission dealt with offences such as drug trafficking and money laundering which needed to be reflected in the name.

“The Commission is now a full member of the Central Joint Operations Committee which is comprised of the National Defence and Security wings; The Commission deals with offences such as drug trafficking and money laundering which are not only a formidable Law Enforcement problem but also a serious threat to National and International security. Drug trafficking and money laundering related offences, because they are linked to other forms of transnational organised crimes such as proliferation of weapons and terrorism, are a challenge to National and International Security. Drug trafficking and money laundering offences continue to be some of the most lucrative criminal enterprises with the greatest ability to fund terrorists, insurgents and other threats of national security. This therefore requires close collaboration with other police services or forces in other countries where they do not have separate Drug Law Enforcement Institutions,” DEC submitted.

“In addition, officers of the Commission have the power to use fire arms under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Cap 96 of the Laws of Zambia. The nature of this power entails that we qualify to be classified as a government security wing. We also note that under article 235 (c) there is created The Anti-Financial and Economic Crimes Commission. The name of this institution suggests it will be responsible for investigating economic and financial crimes. It is worth noting that the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) under the Drug Enforcement Commission enjoys the mandate to investigate Financial and Economic Crimes. It is therefore our considered view that creating such an institution as prescribed under article 235 (c) in the Constitution will result in duplicating the work undertaken by the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit. We therefore submit that this suggested institution be replaced by the aforementioned Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit which falls under The Drug Enforcement Commission. We further propose that the name of the institution be changed to Anti-Drugs, Economic and Financial Crimes Agency.”

The commission submitted that the Anti-Drugs, Economic and Financial Crimes Agency would prevent investigate and control the supply and demand of narcotic drugs.

“We note that the functions of the Commission have not been spelt out in the constitution in line with the narcotic and psychotropic Substances Act and the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the two pieces of legislation we are mandated to enforce. We would like the following to be included in the constitution; Article 193 1 (d) the Anti-Drugs, Economic, Financial Crimes Agency and any other national security service as prescribed. The Anti-Drugs, Economic and Financial Crimes Agency shall prevent, investigate and control the supply and demand of Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substance in order to contribute to maintenance of internal security. Investigate and prevent economic and financial crimes through the Anti-Money Laundering investigations Unit. Provide counselling services to drug and alcohol addicts. Coordinate with defence and security services and other organisations both local and abroad in crime detection, prevention; and perform any other functions as prescribed,” DEC submitted.

And DEC submitted that it wanted to be recognized as a national security agency.

“It can be noted from the above submission that the Commission had requested for recognition as a National Security Service as well as the change of name. We are gratified that our submissions were considered and are appearing in this Bill. However, we noted with concern that while other National Security Wings, as established by Article 193 of the Constitution have had their functions prescribed by the very Constitution, the Anti-Drugs, Economic and Financial Crimes Agency’s` functions have not been prescribed by this Bill,” submitted DEC.

“It is therefore our understanding that such an omission may have a negative bearing on the operations of the Agency considering that its functions shall not be enshrined in the Constitution. The omission has also brought misunderstandings in some sections of society who think that Government intends to merge the Drug enforcement Commission with the Financial Intelligence Centre when in fact not.”