Mwaipopo calls for political will to address graft

By Staff Reporter

CENTRE for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) executive director Isaac Mwaipopo has called for strong political will to address the growing problem of corruption, tax evasion and fraud in Zambia.

In a statement today, Mwaipopo said the findings of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the Auditor General’s Report will remain mere academic exercise gobbling tax-payers money with no follow up actions.

Mwaipopo said his organisation remained deeply concerned with the growing trend of illicit financial flows and blatant corruption in the public service as revealed in the latest FIC trends report.

He stated that it was increasingly becoming clear that the levels of corruption in the country are going up instead of reducing so were the cases of tax evasion and money laundering and other financial crimes.

“The latest FIC report just revealed that suspicious transactions reported this year have increased to K6.1 billion from 4.5 Billion reported in 2018. And according to this report, it is evident that almost all that corruption has taken its toll on the country and must be addressed with the urgency that it deserves,” he said.

He warned that the economic implications of the illicit financial crimes were so damaging to a country like Zambia saying, it results in many devastating outcomes such as tax revenue losses, deprivation of citizen’s access to a decent life as well as underdevelopment.

Mwaipopo expressed his disappointment that in the consecutive FIC two reports, the politically exposed persons were high on the list of culprits using conduits such as law and audit firms.

“These are the people that Zambians have trusted with positions of authority to promote and protect public interest but alas, they are now stealing from the people they are supposed to protect. This is a betrayal of the people’s trust which should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians,” he said.

Mwaipopo stated that at a time when the country was in dire need of resources to finance its developmental programs due to several fiscal challenges, such blatant abuse of resources should not be entertained.

He urged government with the support of all law enforcement agencies not to take lightly the matters raised in the FIC report.

“Our Republican President, Edgar Lungu should prevail over the law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with the suspected individuals perpetrating these crimes. If at all the law enforcement agencies are lacking any resources to pursue the suspected perpetrators of the crimes reported in the two consecutive FIC reports, the government should provide the resources in abundance,” Mwaipopo said.

He stated that his organisation is extremely concerned because the amounts in question are so huge.

“If safeguarded, the funds will go a long way to help the country in its various areas of need,” he said.

Mwaipopo has urged all law enforcement officers at Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission not to relent in their fight against the mentioned crimes.

“They should instead double their efforts and without fear or favour deal with all suspected perpetrators of such heinous crimes against the people of Zambia. This is critical in that it will also help this country serve resources not only for development but also for paying back public debt that has risen uncontrollably in the past few years,” he said.