Unfortunately, we don’t see the Financial Intelligence Center remaining in existence for a long time because of the work that it is doing. In fact, we are surprised that it has been allowed to survive another year of the PF regime after revealing how the ruling party and its rivals were involved in illicit cash transactions during the 2016 general election campaigns.
We have observed that a lot of people are excited with the role that the Financial Intelligence Center is playing in society, and most of these people think this institution has a special layer of protection from political interference. That is not true. The Financial Intelligence Center is, as a matter of fact, the weakest and most vulnerable among the investigative wings. Since the findings of the FIC can only be acted upon at the discretion of other law enforcement agencies, it makes it even harder for this institution to prove itself beyond just being the initiator of financial ‘gossip’.
The Financial Intelligence Center has been receiving the same threats; just like the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission. After succeeding to get rid of Irene Lamba from the ACC, these politically exposed persons targeted Mary Tshuma who is the FIC director, and it was expected that the institution was going to cow down and give in to intimidation.
However, and to the surprise of many, the Financial Intelligence Center has continued to outshine the older institutions that have the mandate to investigate, arrest and prosecute culprits of financial crimes. We are not surprised at all. In fact, we are shocked that the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission seem not to see what the Financial Intelligence Center is seeing.
The financial crimes being committed under the PF government don’t need any investigation. One just needs to read the news to find out who the latest thief is and how much they have stolen. Like French economist and writer Frédéric Bastiat said, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men and women in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
So we understand how those who are involved in the plunder of Zambia’s resources cannot see anything wrong with what is going on. They think we are the ones who are mad for accusing them of corruption every day because they have convinced themselves that their insanity is normal. The truth is that it’s hard to ignore the corruption in this regime because, like NAREP president Elias Chipimo rightly observed, the evidence is in public domain.
If all our law enforcement wings were doing just half of what they were mandated to do, they would have easily earned the respect of citizens by picking criminals from this government and sending them to prison. Unfortunately, they have refused to grow and the Financial Intelligence Center has emerged as a genius in a family of retards.
Sadly, these retards are jealous of this achievement by the younger institution and so they don’t want to prosecute any criminal cases referred to them. They have now joined hands with culprits and frightened government officials in calling for the disbandment of the Financial Intelligence Center.
They are accusing it of publishing unverified reports; a trend which they say paints the accused persons as guilty without trial. Anyone who doesn’t know the operating terms of the Financial Intelligence Center can buy into this argument. But we know that the law mandates this institution to announce its financial trends report without naming the suspects. The law further demands that the FIC submits names of the suspects to the law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution. This is what Mary Tshuma and her team has been doing.
So we wonder when we hear enemies of the Financial Intelligence Center complaining that it is scandalising people with unverified suspicions from the banking sector. The Police, the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission, all make announcements when they arrest SUSPECTS believed to be responsible for crimes, even before they are found guilty by a court of law. What is wrong with the Financial Intelligence Center announcing after its investigations that K4.5 billion was lost through financial crimes and that “politically exposed people” were involved?
Of course we agree that it would be really unfair to be publicly scandalised by these agencies, only to be proved innocent after the damage has already been done. But our appeal to those who don’t like this trend is that they must direct their anger towards the law and not Mary Tshuma. Let them change the law and give the Financial Intelligence Center a new set of operating guidelines which Tshuma and her team should adhere to.
On the other hand, we will be failing in our duty if we don’t caution the ‘heroes’ working for the Financial Intelligence Center, starting from the top. Fighting financial crimes is a very noble but dangerous undertaking. Those charged with this responsibility must resist the temptation of using the institution to settle personal differences with their enemies or being selective in their interests and revelations.
Most importantly, the leadership of the Financial Intelligence Center must do their job with clean hands. It would be disheartening to learn one day in future that the those whom we are lifting shoulder high today as champions in the fight against corruption, were actually beneficiaries of financial crimes.
So if madam Mary Tshuma, together with her board and management, has a clear conscience over the concerns raised above and they have no individual scores to settle, then they have our support. Let them remove the veil so that we can see the criminals and call them by their names. Bravo FIC! Long live Tshuma!