“I have read the Financial Intelligence Center report and I have not seen the words ‘Patriotic Front’ mentioned anywhere. In fact, the report does not mention anything or anyone, it’s full of ‘XYZ’. Therefore, I don’t understand why our governing party, the PF is up in arms against the Financial Intelligence Center. I thought the only people who should be annoyed are Slap Dee’s XYZ crew because they are the only ones who have their XYZ labels known,” says Yona Musukwa.
We can’t agree less with Musukwa. Indeed, the Financial Intelligence Center doesn’t mention the Patriotic Front; it doesn’t mention Dora Siliya, Sunday Chanda, or Antonio Mwanza. But these people have gone out of their way to argue with the findings of the Financial Intelligence Center. They are telling the people of Zambia that the revelations contained in the 2017 trends report are just rumours without any verified evidence. They are claiming that the Center doesn’t have authority to release such information to the public.
“What we want to do in government is to serve the citizens better, but we must serve the citizens better by not misleading them with unprocessed intelligence information. And by its nature, the word ‘intelligence’ means rumours, really,” Siliya told journalists.
“The FIC is an internal whistle-blower for government. There is a debate going on in government now that the internal whistle-blower should report internally, and not to the court of public opinion before the work can be done internally; the internal whistle-blower should disseminate that information to the relevant organization within government so that these issues can then be further investigated and verified!”
Rupiah Banda would say “Mufisanji amambala” (what are you hiding you criminals). We need to remind Ms Siliya that it is the same raw data intelligence, or “rumours” as the minister calls it, which President Edgar Lungu is using to govern this country. It is the same rumours from internal whistleblowers which President Lungu used to fire former information minister Chishimba Kambwili.
Prior to firing Kambwili, President Lungu said he had received reports from the same financial intelligence to the effect that some ministers were depositing huge sums of money into their bank accounts.
“Lately I have seen an increase in corruption amongst our people. We have integrity committees at places of work and in the ministries, but they are not working. Constant deposits in people’s accounts, huge amounts on a daily basis, people who are not in any industry or commerce. It tells me there is something wrong there. So very soon, I will be firing some ministers if what we hear is true. There is so much corruption that you can smell it in illegal allocation of land, illegal acquisition of property or whatever description, with impunity. That cannot be allowed. People are suffering. Overpricing of things is the order of the day. I think we cannot continue like that. Enough is enough, so I will be calling the individuals involved to my office to talk to them about my recent findings on acts of corruption among my Cabinet ministers. If they are found wanting, I will not wait for the Anti Corruption Commission or anybody, I will send them packing,” President Lungu vowed.
The next thing we saw was Kambwili being kicked out of Cabinet. With that action, the Head of State subjected the Roan member of parliament to the court of public opinion. Whatever “rumours” President Lungu heard about Kambwili’s corruption were not subjected to the law enforcement wings for verification or a trial in court so that the public could hear his side of the story.
Today, the Financial Intelligence Center has released ‘raw data’ without naming anyone and the government has risen against the institution. Why? How come this raw data is so bad for the public to hear? How can our government find it unnecessary for the public to hear that 425 financial crimes cases where reported to the law enforcement agencies for action? Who is the system trying to protect?
As far as we are concerned, the Financial Intelligence Center is doing exactly what President Lungu asked them to do at that State House event before he fired Kambwili.
“What has happened to the Anti Corruption Commission? What are they waiting for? Previously, they used to bring reports to the President to say, ‘that man, that lady’, but these days I don’t see anything. The only thing I can talk about is when ZNFU was found wanting because the owners of the money cried foul. The ACC is there to make sure that things are going on properly. Probably they miss the old order when they would wait for the President to say ‘go and arrest that one or fix that one’. I am not going to fix anyone using the ACC, I am not going to fix anyone using the Auditor General or the police, but what I am saying is that they have all gone to sleep,” said President Lungu.
Well, we are not shocked that everyone, including President Lungu himself is angry to hear the news that the Financial Intelligence Center has woken up. He didn’t mean to wake up these government investigative wings. He was merely trying to make small talk and keep the conversation going with those people who were present at the event.
President Lungu hates the fight against corruption. And people shouldn’t think that he has taken a silent approach towards the latest happenings at the Financial Intelligence Center. He is speaking through Sunday Chanda, Antonio Mwanza and other vuvuzelas.
We know that the PF is preparing a brutal send off for Mary Tshuma, the FIC boss. They want her to go like the ACC boss Ireen Lamba went, via the court. They want Tshuma to go the Mutembo Nchito way, via Chongwe police.
The same role that Richard Chawinga played on Lamba; the same role that Newton Ng’uni played on kicking out DPP Mutembo, is the same role that the PF aligned Lewis Mosho and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is playing on Tshuma.
It’s not by accident that YALI has reported the FIC to the Office of the Public Protector. Tshuma is going, we just don’t know the route yet, but her departure has been decided by State House and the XYZs mentioned in the 2017 trends report.