Action Aid Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba says the law should be broadened to allow the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to name those cited in the trends report.
And the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accounts (ZICA) has recommended that the FIC should be left as a stand-alone institution and given a mandate to prosecute cases.
The two institutions were speaking when they made separate submissions to the parliamentary committee on Cabinet Affairs on the role of the FIC in the fight against corruption and other crimes, Thursday.
“We have seen that there is an abrasive flow of intelligence information due to some institutional gaps between FIC and Law Enforcement Agencies necessitated by the failure to adequately collaborate. This is very visible because we saw that even when the report was released, there was some interchange between ACC and FIC. And currently, if you look at our FIC, the establishment provides for 62 but they are currently 27 and on that, we are violating the principle of one of the best practices. There is also an issue of operational independence. Our recommendation is that we allow the Financial Intelligence Centre to run as it is. And issues of saying that the trends report jeopardizes investigations of other wings, for us, we are of the view that that issue is neither here nor there because if you look at the trends report, it’s coded,” Ziba said.
“And one of the things we have been requesting for as civil society is for the law to be broadened and allow for them to be naming. Issues of financial crimes constitute crimes against humanity and there is serious human rights violation because the rate at which they deter economies and societies is irreversible. It will take another 100 years for you to bring back the country to where it’s supposed to be.”
Ziba said there was also need to consider creating fast-truck courts exclusively for financial crimes.
“There is a lot of work that still needs to be done, not just by the Financial Intelligence Centre but even by the other agencies. If anything, we even need to start thinking about fast track courts to try cases of Financial nature in this country,” said Ziba.
Meanwhile, ZICA recommended that the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) should be left as a stand-alone institution and given a mandate to prosecute cases.
“Our recommendation as ZICA is that a consideration be given to the possibility of making the FIC a prosecutorial Financial Intelligence Unit to ensure that they are able to investigate and prosecute instances of possible money laundering or terrorist financing. A framework needs to be put in place to allow the FIC to carry out joint operations with Law Enforcement Agencies. And there is need to enhance the operations of the risk based approach to the entire value chain so as to ensure that transactions that have the highest risk of potential money laundering or terrorist financing are given urgent attention,” ZICA said.
ZICA said there had been delayed or no action on cases of suspected financial transactions from the Law Enforcement Agencies.
“Yes, they are a buffer [institution] but why we are saying that they should be prosecuting is because there is no framework and there is that delay of action from the investigative wings. So we are saying that if FIC is a stand-alone, they will be able to go through the whole process but as things stand, they are just getting this data, analyze it, probably making suggestions and then pass it on to the Law Enforcement Agencies for them to act or prosecute. There is a delay and probably no action that is happening. In some cases, we are saying that it just falls on deaf ears. So, if they can be a stand-alone and if they can go through the whole process, we will see better value than what we are seeing now,” said ZICA.