Four individuals have been arrested in connection with a money laundering scheme involving over K5 million, according to a press statement released by the Drug Enforcement Commission’s Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit in collaboration with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).
“These arrests demonstrate our commitment to fighting financial crimes in Zambia. We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify and prosecute those involved in illegal activities,” said the Drug Enforcement Commission’s Public Relations Officer, Hussein Khan.
The four individuals who were arrested are Mary Maimba, a 32-year-old Human Resource Manager; Geoffrey Sichiweza, a 29-year-old male; Raymond Muluti, a 22-year-old Translator; and Gu Zhaofei, a 35-year-old Quality Controller. They have all been charged with accessing an Electronic Communications Network or Electronic Communication Service, as well as with Money Laundering.
According to the statement, the suspects fraudulently accessed the electronic communication network of a known mobile service provider by employing unlicensed/unauthorized sim boxes. This allowed them to terminate international calls coming into Zambia, causing them to be treated and charged as local calls, thereby gaining financially through the difference. The illegal business was disguised by purporting that they were operating a money lending business named Vansiho Money Lending.
“This is a serious crime that undermines the integrity of the financial system and can facilitate criminal activity. We urge the public to report any suspicious financial activity to the relevant authorities,” added Khan.
During the arrest, the suspects were found in possession of four newly acquired and imported sim box machines. The bank account of Vansiho has been frozen with a balance of K5, 360, 288.93 suspected of being proceeds of crime.
The four individuals are currently out on bond and are expected to appear in court soon.
“We would like to assure the public that we will continue to work diligently to combat money laundering and other financial crimes in Zambia. This is a top priority for our agency,” said ZICTA Director General, Patrick Mutimushi.
The authorities are reminding the public that money laundering is a serious offense that carries severe penalties, and they encourage anyone with information about suspicious financial activity to come forward.
“We take all reports of financial crime seriously and will investigate them thoroughly. Our ultimate goal is to protect the integrity of the financial system and prevent criminal activity,” concluded Khan.