The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) says the current trend of publicizing the findings of the Financial Intelligence Center report on Money laundering and Terrorism Financial activities compromises investigations by law enforcement agencies.
DEC Commissioner Alita Mbahwe said the report should not be published in the manner it had been in the past few years as it was supposed to be confidential and undercover information.
She said while the commission appreciates the role of the FIC in educating the public and Inform entities of their obligations to measure, detect and deter money laundering and terrorism proliferation, the FIC should have different information prepared for different audiences and not the current trend.
“We are concerned with the publication of raw data as it actually compromises investigation. This is because the same intelligence report disseminated to law enforcement agencies is also disseminated to the public and therefore jeopardizes investigations as the perpetrators are alerted and begin to destroy vital evidence,” Mbahwe said.
Ms Mbahwe said the Financial Intelligence Center had been engaged on several occasions on the need to review its modus operandi to avoid compromising investigations as well as creating false impressions.
She disclosed that the commission was only investigating 16 cases accounting to 22 Million Kwacha out of the 80 cases which the FIC said it had disseminated to law enforcement agencies.
Ms Mbahwe further said the commission was working hard to investigate all financial crime related cases.
Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) said the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) should be not be castigated for publicizing its Money Laundering and Terrorism Financial report because it is in line with the purpose for which it was established.
TIZ Executive Director Wesley Chibamba said the FIC report cannot compromise investigations because no names of people had been cited in the report.
“The report can in no way jeopardize the investigation because there are no particulars given, the particulars only go to DEC and the related law enforcement agencies,” he said. “of course the public pressure is there and essentially it is necessary so that the law enforcement agencies can be able to do their work.”
And Governance, Elections, Advocacy and Research Services (GEARS) initiative Executive Director, McDonald Chipenzi said the statement by the DEC shows lack of coordination between the FIC and DEC.
He wondered why DEC had been quiet on the 22 Million they indicated to have been laundered as opposed to the 6 Billion reviewed in the FIC report.