The Center for Trade Policy and Development has called for political will from government in fighting financial crimes cited in the Financial Intelligence Center report.
Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo said there is need for strong political will if Zambia is to address the growing problem of Corruption, Tax Evasion and Fraud.
Mr. Mwaipopo says in the absence of that, findings from the financial Intelligence Centre and the auditor General’s Report will remain as mere academic exercise gobbling tax payers money with no follow up actions.
He said CTPD remains deeply concerned with the growing trend of illicit financial flows and blatant suspected corruption in the public service as revealed in the latest Financial Trends Report by the Financial Intelligence Centre released on Friday 31st May 2019.
Mr. Mwaipopo said it is increasingly becoming clear that the levels of corruption in the country are going up instead of reducing so are the cases of tax evasion and money laundering and other financial crimes.
He said the latest FIC report revealed that suspicious transactions reported this year have increased to K6.1 Billion from 4.5 Billion reported in 2018.
Mr. Mwaipopo said it is evident that almost all the corruption has taken its toll on the country and must be addressed with the urgency that it deserves.
He noted that the economic implications of these illicit financial crimes are so damaging to countries, it results in many devastating outcomes such tax revenue losses, deprivation of citizen’s access to a decent life as well as underdevelopment.
“What is even more disappointing being that in the two consecutive reports, (2017 and 2018 it is the Politically Exposed Persons (PEPS) that have been cited as the main culprits in these financial related crimes using conduits such as law and audit firms. These are the people that Zambians have trusted with positions of authority to promote and protect public interest but alas they are now stealing from the people they are supposed to protect”, he observed.
Mr. Mwaipopo said this is a betrayal of the people’s trust which should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.
He said at a time when the country is in dire need of resources to resources to finance its developmental programs due to several fiscal challenges, such blatant abuse of resources should not be entertained.
Mr. Mwaipopo has since urged President Edgar Lungu with the support of all Law enforcement agencies not to take lightly the matters raised in the FIC report.
He said the President should prevail over the Law Enforcement Agencies to deal decisively with the suspected individuals perpetrating these crimes.