As the Green Party, we think that the political fallout of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is a text-book example of the English adage which states that too many cooks spoil the soup. We also believe that the confusion surrounding the role of FIC is a constitutional systems failure resulting from constitutional lip-service democracy.
Furthermore, believe that the FIC fallout justifies the Green Party 2016 election manifesto on the defence and security cluster wherein we proposed that if it formed government, we would have amalgamated the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), the Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) and Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to transform them into an economic, trade and financial crimes agency. Here is why.
The genesis of the FIC fallout is public dissemination of the trends report. The Attorney General and the Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre collectively disseminated the FIC trends report. In fact from TV and other visual aids, it is shown that the report was launched by the Attorney General, who, according to the Constitution, is the legal chief adviser to Government. At the same event, the Attorney General reportedly informed the nation that he many times advises the investigative institutions to drop cases.
Meantime, all the criticism is focused on the FIC. Is it not the Attorney General who launched the trends report? Is it not the constitutional responsibility of the Attorney General to give advice to FIC on implications of the dissemination of the report? Is it not the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecution to advise investigative agencies which cases to prosecute and which not to? Why is it that all the criticism focused on FIC? Why not the Attorney General who launched the report? Is this not the case of shooting the messenger? Why is criticism by the presidency, and other executive agencies, paying a blind eye to the Attorney General’s role in the dissemination of same report when the Attorney General was the key player?
The confusion surrounding the FIC debacle is proof of constitutional systems failure. This failure has resulted from constitutional lip-service democracy. The English say too many cooks spoil the soup. This means that when there are too many people involved in trying to do the same thing, the final result will not be good. We have too many institutions doing a small bit of everything on economic, trade, financial crimes that each of one of them is doing, and at the end of the day achieve nothing at all.
Last year, FIC produced and disseminated a similar trends report. There was hullabaloo from the executive led by presidency. This year, again, the executive led by the presidency, is upset, calling the trends report as kachepa spreading falsehoods. This view is supported by one of the cluster members the Drug Enforcement Commission. The DEC is of the view that FIC is an alarmist not only jeopardizing investigations but spreading falsehoods. Neither the presidency nor DEC has mentioned the role of the Attorney General in the whole matrix.
The FIC fallout proves our Green Party 2016 election platform manifesto on the need to amalgamate and transform some of the Chapter 18 institutions, particularly Article 235 investigative institutions which include the Anti-Corruption Commission; the Drug Enforcement Commission; and the Anti-Financial and Economic Crimes Commission (AFECC). Although the Constitution provides for the establishment of AFECC, this is has not be done. Instead there is established elsewhere in the subsidiary legislation this toothless bulldog called FIC which has no powers at all to arrest and prosecute suspects of economic, trade and financial crimes. The report is launched by the Attorney General, who advises investigative wings to drop cases. This is where the problem lies. We apply too much lip-service on constitutionalism, hence, this constitutional systems failure we have found ourselves in.
The Green Party believes that state investigative institutions should be stopped from spying on people, and investigating and prosecuting people solely because they hold different views from those of government on political and socio-economic issues. We also believe that it may be more appropriate to have responsibility prosecuting criminals returned to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
We also believe it is essential to tighten the recruitment and discharge of functions of Chapter 18 institutions to eliminate political patronage and prosecutions which are solely targeted on people holding dissenting views from those of the government of the day.
If we ever form government, we plan institute a review of Chapter 18 institutions. We plan to amalgamate ACC, DEC, FIC, and ZSIS, and transform them into only one anti-economic, trade and financial crimes agency.
We will work to stop our intelligence agencies spying on legitimate, peaceful, political dissenters. We support an inquiry as to whether the Zambia Security Intelligence Services and Anti-Corruption Commission, Financial Intelligence Centre and Drug Enforcement Commission should be transformed. We believe that the responsibility for detecting politically motivated crimes should be returned to the Police.
Also another point to note is that with the liberation wars well and truly over, the new orientation for the ZSIS should be towards economic and not political well-being of Zambia. The Zambia Police can ably handle the latter, without complications. The Police are always in close contact with the politicians through various political processes. They have their own police intelligence unit which could be oriented towards political intelligence. This being the case, the Police is better placed to deal with politicians and political issues. As for anti-terrorism crimes, we believe that should be the responsibility of the military intelligence and should therefore be hived off to be the responsibility of the Zambia Army and Zambia Air Force.
9th June, 2019