The guilty will always be afraid, says development activist Dr Canisius Banda.
The former UPND vice-president for politics said anyone who has been made uncomfortable or is rattled by the work of the Financial Intelligence Centre and its reports was a veritable danger to patriotism and nationalism. Dr Banda said all people were averse to being exposed when they were engaged in an immoral or illegal act.
“Sins are best kept hidden,” he said.
He said the FIC was a required fixture in any civilised society.
“Those citizens that created it deserve our highest commendation for they meant well for the Republic of Zambia. Of course, there will be many jaundiced comments that will be made. This is normal but these must never be allowed to malign this vital national installation,” he said.
“Those that created the FIC put in place one of the required building blocks of a sound nation. People are transient, ephemeral. But institutions should outlast them. The FIC is one such eternal guard over the wellbeing of our nation. The guilty, you see, will always be afraid. And in this case, it is only the guilty that are afraid, it is they that are so rattled that they are now exposing themselves by openly fidgeting, and by their irrational and disruptive noises that they are now making.”
Dr Banda said there were comments that the FIC was spreading rumour and promoting gossip.
“They are now even, unabashedly, calling for it to be abolished. Even the Drug Enforcement Commission [DEC], which should collaborate with the FIC and be strengthened by the FIC’s activities, is now behaving in a dysfunctional and shameful manner by publicly attacking a fellow team member, a partner government department, conduct akin to washing dirty linen in public, like telling friends at the pub that one’s wife is frigid, utterly uncouth behaviour to be frowned upon,” he said.
Dr Banda said this discomforting drama could not be resolved by premature, inane and emotional utterances from the DEC.
“It can only be discussed quietly and soberly in government boardrooms by the Minister of Home Affairs and his colleague, the Minister of Finance.
The FIC has done nothing wrong. Its entire behaviour is in keeping with the provisions of our Republican Constitution,” he said.
Dr Banda said the FIC was not spreading rumours nor promoting gossip but merely doing its job.
“It is actually promoting honesty, accountability, and all other national values and principles. It is encouraging required national debate. The FIC is on the side of the people,” he said.
“Further, to the uninitiated, there is nowhere in the FIC Act where it says that the FIC should withhold the names of these suspicious creatures requiring investigations. The FIC is supposed to name all persons it has in its basket of suspects.”
Dr Banda said everyone must feel for the FIC workers.
“Their work isn’t easy but then it will never be. Their peace of mind therefore must be a product of our collective realisation of their importance in our lives. The people must protect the FIC. Evil will always act big, brag and boast of power but when good comes, it will always shrivel, wilt, cower and disappear altogether,” he said.
Dr Banda said the reports would over time lead to an increase in the hoarding of money and bank-avoidance as individuals at issue would attempt to leave no money flow-trails.
“To counter this, a strategic and periodic change in currency features might help. For US dollars, subtle and sophisticated ways of currency tagging should be used or devised. In addition, paperless financial world [e-money] in future will help. This isn’t an easy task. But it is worthy and inevitable,” he said.
“The Republican President His Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu should be duly commended for allowing the FIC to perform its functions freely as this clearly illustrates his respect for our Republican Constitution and his commitment to fighting corruption and creating a Zambia in keeping with its national values and principles.”
He said the greater the anger in the community against the FIC, the higher the levels of corruption in society.