GOVERNANCE Activist Rueben Lifuka says Stanbic Bank has robust Know Your Customers protocols and therefore, it has no excuse for its failure to report suspicious transactions within the stipulated period.
Commenting on the delay by the Stanbic Zambia Limited to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Centre, Lifuka said such acts of omission or indeed acts of commission serve to tarnish the image of the bank.
“Coming to Stanbic Bank, it is unfortunate that a bank of its standing and reputation is found in this spot of bother. Such acts of omission or indeed acts of commission serve to tarnish the image of the bank. The financial sector has been a major player in this country in addressing the challenges presented by economic and financial crimes. Banks in particular have not been known to be enablers of economic and financial crimes – therefore the expectation is that Stanbic will not break the mold for whatever interest,” Lifuka said.
“Failure to report, in a timely manner, suspicious transactions, has immediate impacts on the whole value chain of investigating predicate offenses which may be associated with these transactions. Stanbic Bank certainly has robust Know Your Customers protocols and therefore it has no excuse for its failure to report suspicious transactions within the stipulated period.”
He said FIC’s decision to fine the bank should serve as a warning to other players.
“The action by FIC should serve as a timely warning not only to banks but even other significant players who may be enablers of money laundering. It is important for the FIC to bring into the fold Real Estate agents, Car Dealerships, Lawyers, Accountants, Casinos etc who all have opportunities or prospects of coming into contact with proceeds of crime. These should be sensitized and regulated, to ensure they report on a timely basis any suspicious transactions to FIC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lifuka commended FIC for being alert and added that the Centre should not go without a substantive Director General for a long time.
“It is commendable that FIC continues to play its mandate in addressing the challenges of economic and financial crimes. The action taken to Stanbic Bank for non adherence to the provision of the law, is welcome and it is important that FIC effectively and consistently enforce the law against all wrong doers. The FIC is an important institution that should not go without a substantive Director General for a long time. It is urgent that a suitable replacement is found to serve in this position. We want to see a strong, vibrant and professional FIC,” said Lifuka.