FINANCIAL Intelligence Centre (FIC) director of compliance and prevention Diphat Tembo says despite the center facing major challenges in 2019 due to funding, the 2019 Trends Report is a quality document which has not be doctored.
And Tembo says the K320 million lost to corruption, as indicated in the 2019 Trends Report, may not be the true reflection of all suspected corrupt activities in that year, as the Center had no resources to analyze all suspicious transactions.
Speaking on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme, Sunday, Tembo said there was nothing sinister about the report, describing it as a quality report.
“I can tell you that it was just a coincidence really that things were happening at the same time, you have the substantive Director General going on leave, then you have the acting director resigning and then at the same time you have the report being released and then it delays, it’s just a coincidence. Believe me there is nothing sinister about this report. What we have put in this report is what we received and believe you me if the numbers have gone down, that is what we did over the year. If next year numbers go up, we are going to see. Basically I wouldn’t say the report has been doctored, I think people have different opinions and sometimes you can’t be responding to each and every opinion we need to remain professional and that is what we are basically doing. There is nothing that has happened that would warrant people to say that the report has been doctored,” Tembo said.
“I think you really agree with me, it is not just the Financial Intelligence Center that faced these difficulties of funding from the Central government. In the past two, three years we have been experiencing economic challenges as a country. I think that you will note that FIC was just among the institutions that probably were not funded on time. I should mention that we did receive funding but not 100 per cent, our funding was about 65 to 70 percent of the funding requirements. People are appreciating our work, if this institution was doing rubbish stuff and we are producing useless reports, I don’t think government will be spending taxpayers’ money to fund the institution.”
He said lack of funding did not affect the quality of the report.
“The quality remains the same, the quality and what you are seeing now, we were able to do with the funding that we received. We worked even under difficult circumstances to still give you the quality report. I can’t say because of the lack of funding the quality has gone down, that may not be the correct picture. I will tell you that from the information we received, we are able to come up with what we have put in this report, which is very informative. The objectives are still being met even under those difficult circumstances that we faced in 2019. Issues of money laundering or terrorist financing, they don’t work like a linear way of approaching things to say well; because last year we had 100, this year we are expecting to have 200, the other year we are expecting to have 200, then the Financial intelligence Center has worked, not necessarily,” he said.
“We only analyzed 101 and if we had enough resources I even talked about verification which was impacted. We received about 748 reports and you are talking about analyzing only 101, it means that if there was enough resources, including human resources, I think we could have done more; it is a fact that it impacted the verification, that impacted even other departments I have talked about that. I cannot say the quality was compromised, we never had enough to do more, I think we did what we did with what we had, that is the information we have given in that report. This report has not been doctored that I can assure you.”
And Tembo said the K320 million lost to corruption was not the true reflection of the full amount lost to corruption activities during that period as the Center had no resources to analyze all suspicious transactions.
“This information that we have given is based on the reports that we received bordering on suspected corruption and that we analyzed and out of the report that we received and analyzed. Believe you me, the amount that we have given you is what we analyzed. There are also a number of reports out there TIZ, ACC they can give information on corruption and we are not saying that these numbers, they need to be the same, we deal with suspicious transactions. So, in the year under review, you will note that the types of reports that we dealt with on suspected corruption was more on individuals, customers and corporates. That will tell you that even the amounts involved, the values involved were rather low. It is not 100 per cent work that was done,” said Tembo.
“So if you were to ask me that is this the true reflection, I would say based on what we analyzed that is the correct information. Does it mean that if we were to analyze all the reports that were to come to the FIC, that amount will be more than the 300? I will definitely say yes. It is definitely in black and white, we never analyzed all the reports 748, we analyzed 101, out of 44 disseminated, 300 goes to the corruption; so definitely that may not be the true reflection on the database that we have in terms corruption but that is based on the type of reports that we received on corruption. Really, the amounts was less than what was reported in 2018. We don’t have control based on what we received, that is what we analyzed, that is what we have reported. It is worrisome if we are not looking at the entire spectrum of all the reports that have come. If we had analyzed all the reports probably the numbers that you are talking about would not be the same.”