THE Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) says it is investigating which commercial bank deposited the K2.5 million paid on behalf of the ex-ministers that owed the State in illegal salaries.
In an interview, FIC director general Mary Chirwa said her office was following-up on the source of the cash deposit paid to settle the ex-ministers’ debt owed to the State in illegal salaries earned by the public officials following the dissolution of Parliament back in 2016.
She explained that such a huge amount of cash paid by a single individual raised a lot of suspicion.
“If you look at the FIC pact, the people who are supposed to be taken to task are the bank so whichever bank that that money was deposited in. Unfortunately, I have just reported back in office so I haven’t checked on that transaction yet, but the bank have an obligation to get the details of the depositors and so on for purposes of AML/CLFT. So, I will personally want to follow it up with the bank to know who deposited. The Treasury might not know, they might just be told ‘this bill has been settled.’ I can agree with the Accountant General (Kennedy Musonda) if that is what he is saying. But it will be difficult for me to comment in full, I haven’t checked on that transaction. The bank should have interest, the bank should know, they have to avoid unclean funds passing through their systems. I am not saying these funds are unclean, but obviously, such a huge sum of money raises a lot of suspicion if it is a deposit from one person. So, definitely, the bank has an obligation to know where the funds are coming from,” said Chirwa.
Meanwhile, Accountant General Kennedy Musonda said 59 of the 63 former Cabinet Ministers’ debt had been covered by the anonymous donor.
In a statement, Thursday, Musonda said the Patriotic Front had submitted a schedule of who was covered under its bulk deposits and that those who had already paid would be refunded.
“We Ministry of Finance wishes to inform the nation that full verification and reconciliation of repayments related to salaries that were paid to Cabinet, Provincial, and Deputy Ministers who served between May and August 2016, in line with the court judgement, has now been completed. The Ministry of Finance has in addition submitted the details of repayments and outstanding amounts to the Attorney General. To facilitate our verification process, the Patriotic Front Party submitted a schedule of persons who were covered under its bulk deposits made to the Treasury. To confirm the deposits, the party submitted deposit slips to the Treasury and government receipts have accordingly been issued for the same. Therefore, according to our current records, 59 out of 63 former Cabinet, Provincial, and Deputy Ministers have been covered by the repayments,” Musonda stated.
“The reconciliation process has revealed that some individuals who were paid for by the PF Party had also paid for themselves, resulting in double repayments. Double repayments will be refunded in line with public finance regulations.
He stated that four individuals were still owing the Treasury.
“Taking both foregoing factor and the court judgement into account, the total outstanding amount of public funds due to the Treasury by the remaining four (4) individuals is K230,064.36 (Two-hundred-thirty-thousand-sixty-four-kwacha and 36 ngwee). In line with procedure and to ensure that progress towards the closure of this matter is conclusive, the Ministry of Finance has written to the Attorney General to submit the detail of repayments and outstanding amounts. The details include names of all the fifty-nine (59) persons who have paid in full and the four (4) individuals who have not. To confirm the repayments, government receipts, some of which have not yet been collected from the Treasury, have also been issued for individuals who have availed us with deposit slips. We take this opportunity to encourage some former Ministers who made repayments but have not yet availed the Treasury with deposit slips, to do so in order to be issued with government receipts,” stated Musonda, who still did not name the anonymous donors.