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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The 2020 FIC Report is Shallow and Lacking in Detail-TIZ

Columns The 2020 FIC Report is Shallow and Lacking in Detail-TIZ

By Sampa J. Kalungu TI-Z Chapter President

Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has noted the release this week of the Annual Report for the year 2020 by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). TI-Z has taken time to analyze this report, whose release was eagerly being awaited by the general public and key stakeholders.

Our general view is that the 2020 FIC report is appallingly shallow, lacking in detail and way too generalized to be of any meaningful value for effective public or stakeholder engagement, or indeed for the sort of follow up action that would be required to address the issues it has attempted to report on. We have reached this conclusion due to a number of reasons, which we are very happy to elaborate on.
Firstly, We have noted with deep concern that the 2020 FIC report is in fact not a Trends Analysis report but merely an annual report. While this may seem to be an inconsequential change at face value, it has wider implications for the issues that the FIC Trends Analysis reports have highlighted in previous years. TI-Z would like to bring to the public’s attention the fact that the FIC has produced a Trends Analysis report every single year since 2015, with the 2019 one that was released last year being the 6th Trends Analysis report that has been produced.

Secondly, The 2020 annual report has provided a lot of information focusing merely on numbers without going into the details behind the numbers. There is for example mention of the 18 analysed reports of corruption with a value of K2.2 million. The report is deafeningly silent on what the individual composition of these 18 reports is. Who is involved in these cases? What is their nature exactly?

Lastly, Because of the abrupt change in the methodology and presentation of the report as outlined above, the 2020 report does not provide any details on how issues reported in the 2019 Trends Analysis report have been followed up, making it likely that the issues have merely been brushed aside and not been addressed at all. For instance, one of the key issues raised in the 2019 Trends Analysis report was the environmental crimes in relation to the Mukula tree trade. The 2019 report made three key recommendations for government to implement, along with many other recommendations touching on tax evasion, corruption, and use of cash in commerce, among others. None of these recommendations have been reported on in this 2020 report, which in our view raises serious doubts about the extent to which the FIC is really interested in seeing progress being made on the issues it raises.

This also effectively makes the 2020 report a baseless output that doesn’t make any reference to baseline data of any sort to inform any reported progress on the current issues it has raised.
On the whole, TI-Z is concerned about a worrying trend that we have noticed since the release of the FIC’s 2018 Trends Analysis report in 2019.

Zambians will recall that in the wake of the release of that report, whose contents did not sit well with the government, President Edgar Lungu publicly attacked the FIC and accused it of spreading rumors and being on a witch hunt which was poisoning the country.

We have noted that the two reports that the FIC has released since that public rebuke have both depreciated in quality, suggesting that the FIC is slowly being cowed into submission to the narrow interests of politicians rather than those of the wider Zambian citizenry.

We are worried that the trust and reputation that the FIC has cultivated in the Zambian public as an institution that delivers on its mandate without fear or favour will quickly get eroded, which will be a real shame because a professional, strong and truly independent FIC is an absolute necessity if we are to make progress not just in the fight against corruption, but generally in adhering to the principles and ideals of good governance.

Despite these glaring weaknesses in the 2020 report, we would like to applaud the increase in the reports of suspected corruption to the FIC, which supports the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistle Blowers) Act. We also note the challenge of low staffing levels mentioned in the report, and therefore urge government to provide adequate resources to enable the FIC not only to have the required staffing levels, but to also be equipped with modern and appropriate capacities and skills to deal with different dimensions of corruption.

TI-Z further calls for the refinement of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act to give the FIC an enhanced mandate to enforce its findings.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Clearly FIC is an institution that into one wants to be successful and mostly its objectives not understood as clearly demonstrated by Kalunga, author of this reaction. The last report brought about a lot of consternation by The Republican President, Ministers and generally politicians with mostly “they are not an investigative wing and should not have issued a trends report.” So now they have conformed and tailored the report to the masters whims you still want to kick them for what has been asked of them?

    The details of the 18 incidents will obviously have been passed on to the investigative wings as revealing it in this report would be considered as “tipping the culprits” so be patient and wait for the investigative wings to do their work – I dare say “don’t hold your breath” as the…

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  2. The role of the FIC is to gather information and forward it to Investigative wings to verify and arrest the suspects who must be convicted in a Court of Law. Giving unverified information to the press and NGOs with names is not anti-corruption. That way, the anti-corruption drive becomes political with individuals being targeted by their opponents. It needs to be institutionalized not individualised. So TIZ must work with ZP, ACC, DEC and Judiciary to get better information not the press.

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  3. The truth always hurts, especially if the source is a reputable one! The EU commission and the wider international community certainly will take note, and the unacceptable response from the PF government! More and more countries will turn their backs on Zambia if Edgar China Lungu wins on August 12!

  4. Thank you TIZ for being objective. I did mention on an earlier article that FIC has a personal vendetta. We know who is funding their political reports. He will never rule this country paneeeyo pake

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  5. When the President has no stomach to fight corruption in an African country just forget about it…they have too much power.

  6. FIC…you see niw you are being accused of generalising. Next time just name and shame without hesitation. Pakwana ubunga tapaba insoni. No?

  7. Sorry tiz you have the wrong end of the tail…a ‘trends report’ does not give names…its is but an analysis…FIC has since inception adopted what it will report on ie say money laundering…to give an analysis of that vice you need data and a period ie time…..you then look to see if there has been activity in that area…is it on the rise, fall or otherwise and give a reason why this might be so….it is not meant to as it wrongly did in 2019 mention minister x took a cheque etc….such detail is sent to relevant wings to investigate…based on evidence to the DPP for prosecution…..indeed there is need to relook at the set up at FIC as over zealousness leads to disaster…

  8. Kikikikiki… Upnd surrogates are furious. They were hoping the report to quote trillions of kwacha.. alas 2.2 million it sounds like a chicken change.HE IS COMING AGAIN!!!

  9. TIZ is very dull.
    Who told you that the FIC report should contain detailed cases.
    Check similar reports from the UK, Australia, South Africa,USA etc
    The report is just a summary of the FIC’s work for purposes of educating and informing the general public.
    Dont expose your ignorance here.

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  10. “…..For instance, one of the key issues raised in the 2019 Trends Analysis report was the environmental crimes in relation to the Mukula tree trade. The 2019 report made three key….”

    “……None of these recommendations have been reported on in this 2020 report, which in our view raises serious doubts about the extent to which the FIC is really interested in seeing….”

    You were told it was lungu, his family and some gang members stealing mukula ……the accused threatened to sue but never got round to it……

    What more do you want from FIC if lungu sweeps his crimes under the carpet ?????

  11. I also don’t understand the rational of instruction l that government gave to FIC that FIC should first give the report to the government before releasing it to the public, highly suspicious as usual

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