SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says it’s illogical to ask State House why the 2019 Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Trends report has not been released by the Financial Intelligence Centre because it is not President Edgar Lungu’s job to supervise the centre.
Meanwhile, National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili says the report is being withheld because government officials are trying to conceal their corrupt activities.
An investigation has revealed that the 2019 Money Laundering Trends Report may not be released anytime soon this year as the Irene Lombe Chibesakunda-led Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) board has not given go ahead for its dissemination to the public.
Sources at the Ministry of Finance told News Diggers that the 2019 report may not be released soon because the Chibesakunda-led board was awaiting approval from State House.
But in an interview, Chipampe dismissed the information as fictitious, saying he was not even aware if the report had already been submitted to State House.
“I think you should ask FIC themselves, they are the originators of the report. To be honest, I have no idea, I don’t know whether it came here or whether it is even ready. I am not aware. Uyu wine State House chinama nshi? (This State House they are referring to what kind of animal is it?) Because everyone just hides in State House, there are a lot of people who are even doing scandals and say ‘we have been sent by State House.’ That is why I am saying that State House chinama nshi? Is it Chipampe? Is it Mwiinga? Is it Lukangaba? Who is State House?” asked Chipampe.
“So even those so called sources you should be querying them that ‘when you say State House’ who are you talking about? Because they just create stories. So people can’t just be throwing State House all over. So we have a problem in this county, creating stories, we are so good, we are creative maybe we should be writing fictitious novels. I work in State House I don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t even know at what point this report came to State House. The report is not prepared by State House call FIC. Why should State House who are also part of the receiving end be the one to be talking on their behalf? No. The President should be supervising FIC? No, that is not his job. FIC is an independent body. We are not withholding anything.”
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Kambwili pleaded with President Lungu to allow FIC to release the report.
“We know the obvious reasons that FIC will expose a lot of glaring corruption in government and obviously they don’t want the report to go public. You know that the report has been attacked by those in government left right and centre to a point that they wanted to merge it with the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) because they found that the woman at the helm of FIC is very strong for them, she cannot be manipulated. They tried by dissolving the board and appointing a new board. So it is not surprising, FIC has always been an enemy of the President because of the obvious reasons that we all know. And this is the open corruption being practiced by this government. They announced that they are going to release it on August 31, isn’t it? Allow the FIC report to be released twapapata (we are begging) ba Lungu even though I am in isolation. Let the people of Zambia know what is happening,” Kambwili said.
He wondered where ministers were getting huge sums of money to make donations.
“Have you ever seen in the history of this country where ministers are giving out money like these current ministers are giving? You hear this minister has given K50,000, another minister goes and gives out K80,000 at a market. These people are forgetting that they are just exposing themselves and telling the people we have created hunger and we are stealing from you. It has never happened. The question that one must ask is; the economy is not doing well, suppliers and contractors who are working for the government are not being paid on time, projects have stalled because there is no money, councils are not paid because there is no money, there are no medicines, nurses and teachers are not employed, Now where are the ministers getting money to donate?” asked Kambwili.
“To my brothers, you will be questioned at an appropriate time where you got those monies from. They call you Bonanza, ATM, cash gurus, mama waluse. Balemitumfya! (they are misleading you) They will get your money, they will eat it, they will not vote for you and you will end up answering the law enforcers. Power is sweet but it must be checked. I was in government, am I still I government? You should know that one day you will be out. Stop stealing from the people of Zambia!”