ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) has called on government to take thorough action on corruption cases reported in the Financial Intelligence Typology Report.
Commenting on revelations in the FIC Typology Report that a government entity awarded three contracts amounting to over US$30 million to an individual and two companies which presented falsified documents, ACA senior information and advocacy officer Jimmy Maliseni said he expected UPND to walk the talk on fighting corruption.
“For us it is two things, the first thing is that we want the new administration to walk the talk. The President is on record saying that they are going to have zero tolerance for corruption. So as an organisation, we do not subscribe to the idea that work done by the FIC is not actionable. The FIC Act is very clear, especially as amended, that the FIC has got the discretion of the power to refer to law enforcement agencies on matters that are of criminal in nature and require prosecution. So, what we want to see is that the administration walks the talk in terms of having zero tolerance to corruption,” Maliseni said.
“But more specifically to the FIC report, we want to see the rule of law take its course. What the FIC has published is not innuendo, it is not suspicion, what they are saying is that the reading of their report is an established fact. If those are established facts, for instance the two companies which they have not named because they are not allowed, but you are able to see the matrix that there is this individual and that there are these two companies who forged audit reports and all of that.”
He said there was need for action to be taken against perpetrators of corruption.
“So, those from the report are established facts, if they are established facts, it means that a criminal offence was committed. Even before when we talk about $30 million, the mere fact that somebody produced fake audit reports, that there is a cartel of criminality, of criminals that are conniving to steal from the public. Ordinarily, we hope that the institutions of regulation have become interested in these issues. Because if someone obtained a fake audit report, the question that must be answered before we go to the offending party in this case, who is the contractor who issued those fake reports?” he asked.
“So ZICA for instance must take keen interest around the issues of the credibility of our auditors. We want to believe that auditors are above board, very credible individuals. So, we must take keen interest to know which auditors have been issuing fake audit reports and establish whether those auditors are actual auditors or they are fake auditors. If they are fake auditors, they must be taken to task and charged accordingly. So, for us, what we are demanding from the revelations of the FIC Typology is that we need to begin to see these people who have stolen from the public begin to pay for their crimes.”
Maliseni said taking action on perpetrators of corruption was the solution to ending corruption in the country.
“The only sure way of ending corruption is not by beautiful statements from our leaders, the only sure way of ending corruption is by making sure that there are deterrents. Without a deterrent, must a crime cannot end. Wrong doing cannot end simply because we are speaking against it, it will only end when there is a deterrent. The deterrent will only be effective if it is done in accordance with the law. So, until we begin seeing people going to prison for corruption, until we begin to see properties seized and forfeited to the state and to the citizens of Zambians, the song about fighting corruption will continue and nothing will change. So, for us the FIC Report presents a very good opportunity for the new administration to walk the talk,” said Maliseni.