They are stealing more and more because they know citizens will do nothing
The FIC 2018 Report Exposes PF Theft Matrix
By Mapanza H Nkwilimba
The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has given Zambians a report on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Trends in 2018. The Centre has done its part. It has laid bare the Patriotic Front (PF)’s theft matrix. What will Zambians do? Will we continue watching while our resources are being looted by a heartless minority? Where are the institutions created to uphold law and order and hold accountable officials that mismanage our resources? There must be a time when Zambians must say enough is enough. That time is now. The professional men and women in institutions such as the Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must pluck some courage and do the right thing for mother Zambia. The right thinking Zambians will fight with you.
The report is telling us that trends (developments, tendencies, inclinations) in the mismanagement of national resources by those entrusted with the responsibility of serving us are similar to those in previous years and have increased. “In 2017, the Centre disseminated reports involving suspicious financial transactions valued at ZMW4.5 billion, increasing to ZMW 6.1 billion in 2018”. This could mean one or two things: the FIC has done a great job of assessing more suspicious transactions, and a few people in the PF have grown bolder over the years and now they steal from Zambians with impunity. They are stealing more and more because they know citizens will do nothing. They have learnt that “Zambians forget easily”.
A whopping ZMW 4.9 billion is attributed to bribery and self-dealing / Conflict of Interest. What it means is that the colossal amount of money was stolen through inducing, enticing, buying off and paying off individuals or entities providing goods and services. It also means that PF functionaries or Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) took advantage of their positions in the suspicious financial transactions. The few bad eggs in the PF acted in their own interests rather than in the interests of the rest of Zambians who should have benefited from the resources if they were applied to areas such as agriculture, education, health, paying retirees and many other important sectors. A few people with self-interest have stolen from the majority of Zambians. They can afford to steal with impunity because they hired themselves through a fraudulent political process while we as shareholders watched helplessly.
The public procurement activities reported show how the few PF cadre plunder our resources. They have ensured that they alone are the beneficiaries of the national cake to the exclusion of the rest of Zambians. The Government procurement process is managed fraudulently. Some individuals managing the process are full of deceit. They are dishonest and deceptive. The end product is illegality. Illegality has become the hallmark of the PF kleptocracy. The kleptocrats are using the power they gave themselves through the 2016 elections to exploit the majority of Zambians and our natural resources in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. The few have embezzled funds at the expense of 16 million Zambians. The corrupt politicians are using their political power to receive kickbacks, bribes, and special favors at the expense of the majority of Zambians. Is it any wonder that Zambia is now witnessing the use of political leverage to pass laws that enrich them and their constituents? The circumvention of the rule of law has become a norm.
The Report points out the manipulation of certain specifications during the procurement process. Do you remember the 42 by US$ 42 million fire tenders and the ambulances fiasco, just to mention two among many?
The Report points out the manipulation of certain specifications during the procurement process. Do you remember the 42 by US$ 42 million fire tenders and the ambulances fiasco, just to mention two among many? The PF has been manipulating some specifications “to disadvantage other bidders” so that only the PF cadre benefit from the process. In the process legitimate businesses are denied opportunities to participate in tendering for supply of goods and services. When legitimate businesses are crowded out there is loss of business that may result in inability to employ or pay workers. Since the PF cadre dubiously give each other contracts it is not surprising that “most contracts are not performed as per contractual obligation.” There are many stories out there of PF cadres that get contracts dubiously and they fail to complete projects because they have to pay some PF Government officials at district, provincial and national level for their perceived role in facilitating the award of contracts.
The Report gives detailed methods by which the PF laundered funds. The PF theft matrix includes use of PF connected Shell Corporate Vehicles, PF connected gate-keepers, and Domestic Financial institutions headed by PF cadres and sympathizers. Some PF cadres and their associates own companies that are not operational and have no known addresses. Some of these companies “were used to obtain contracts from Government institutions and launder(ed) proceeds of crime.” Some of them were awarded contracts before they were formed. Some of these companies “were used to conceal the identity of beneficial owners.” The whole rot is a PF affair.
The rosewood (mukula tree) saga points to the same PEP. While the cutting down of the endangered species is officially under a ban, PF connected individuals and their foreign accomplices continue to plunder the resource to enrich themselves at the expense of poor communities. Imagine what ZMW 2,156,000 or a fraction of it would have accomplished in Manyinga and Mufumbwe. Many children in the two districts walk long distances to school, sit under trees or learn in dilapidated shacks, health facilities and services are almost non-existent, among other challenges.
The FIC Report for 2018 has shown Zambians that the PF is at the center of looting our resources. The big question will we continue to watch them loot at the expense of more than 16 million Zambians?