FORMER Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Dr Caleb Fundanga says people who have legitimate businesses operate through banks, adding that large sums of money outside the banking systems is an indication of the existence of illicit activities.
And Dr Fundanga says workers in public institutions should speak out whenever they see wrong doing.
In an interview, Dr Fundanga questioned how it was possible for individuals to be found with a lot of money when there was a regulation that one could not withdraw a lot of cash at any given time.
He noted that leakages might be coming from commercial banks and other financial institutions that handle cash.
“Those who have legitimate businesses operate through banks. So one would expect that the presence of such large sums of money is an indication of the existence of illicit activities. So if we can avoid this, I am sure there won’t be people moving around with large sums of money, where would they get it from? For me when money is leaving the banking system, it is an indication that there is something wrong going on. People have been buying cars for campaigns with cash, where has the money been coming from? This means that these leakages are coming from the commercial banks and other financial institutions that handle cash. There is a regulation that states that you cannot withdraw a lot of cash at any given time, any given day,” Dr Fundanga said.
“How is it possible that certain individuals can find themselves with a lot of cash. Banks are mandated to report you to relevant authorities. Even if you come across money and it has been sent to you, the banks know that if somebody receives a certain threshold of money, there must be evidence of where the money had come from. Money doesn’t fall from heaven. That is why certain institutions like FIC was established so that they can deal with suspicious transactions.”
And Dr Fundanga said individuals who do wrong should be seen to be punished and not glorified.
“Those who can be found to have done something wrong, they should be dealt with, that is the bottom line. If someone did something wrong and it can be proved, they should be dealt with by the law. We have enough laws here to be able to handle such cases. We should not glorify those who do wrong, they should be seen to be punished. When you read of how much money is being found in houses, you start to wonder whether we have a poor country. God endowed us with enough resources that we should never be where we are today. Supposing that wealth was distributed properly, equitably and in the most productive way, wouldn’t we have had more of that wealth? But when it is just locked up in homes, the result is poverty. People have been talking about the fact that there has been a lot of stealing of public resources,” he said.
Dr Fundanga further urged workers in public institutions to speak out whenever they see a wrongdoing.
“It is just unfortunate that most of the people in these institutions are starting to talk now. And people are asking, where were they all this time? Is it just to impress the new government? Because if they were good workers, even if the government we were under resents you, you should come out in the open. We have heard some individuals who have come out in the open, that is the way it is supposed to be. Even with political leadership it is the same, those who are in power have been imprisoned but they said ‘this is wrong, it must come to an end’ and here we are talking about the new dawn,” he said.
“Would there be a new dawn if people like the current President did not sacrifice? Even when we look back, those people that got us independence are those who stood up for injustices. We must not allow wrong things to continue to perpetuate in our society. Some of the problems are that those who are in power or those who work in the public sector, they should be brave enough to refuse to be enticed to be facilitators for wrongdoing.”
Dr Fundanga said it was unfortunate that some public officials chose to look the other side whenever there was a wrong doing.
“I think there are people working in these institutions and surely they would prevent some of these things from happening but they choose to look at the other side, which is most unfortunate. Everybody needs to play their part. The moment you just see something funny going on, go and find out why that wrongdoing is taking place and who is responsible for it and bring them to book. I know the Minister of Home Affairs has done something about roadblocks, we have had cases where people say ‘if you are going at some distance, you must prepare some change for paying some people’, should it be like that? Couldn’t our transport sector have been more vibrant if our transporters did not have to pay extra tax imposed on them by party cadres? Does it require a new government to come and stop this nonsense?” he questioned.
Dr Fundanga also hoped that government would address the confusion in the mining sector.
“My hope is that they will address the confusion we have had in the mining sector. I think the developments have not been very positive and I am sure we lost a lot especially during this brief period when the price of copper had picked up. Had we had some semblance of order, we would have gained a lot,” said Dr Fundanga.
Meanwhile, Dr Fundanga commended President Hakainde Hichilema on his Cabinet appointments.