LAZ will not shield members involved in fraud – Mwitwa

By Staff Reporter

LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) will not shield any member found involved in financial crimes highlighted in the latest report of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

LAZ president Eddie Mwitwa said the association had secured an appointment with the FIC to get more details concerning lawyers’ involvement in alleged financial crimes.

Mwitwa said LAZ would seek more details and circumstances about lawyers that have been linked to the FIC report that revealed alarming illicit financial deals.

“LAZ will welcome initiatives by law enforcement agencies to find cause to prosecute lawyers and others found wanting,” he said.

He added that the law body was keen to act against any possible misconduct by its members.

Mwitwa told ZNBC news in Lusaka yesterday that the association had a robust practitioners committee that ensured lawyers adhere to standards of practice.

“The Association will further hold constant engagement with FIC to ensure LAZ members are sensitized on their obligations under the FIC Act,” he said.

Meanwhile, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has expressed concern with revelations of the 2018 FIC trends report involving K6.1 billion lost through illicit financial transactions.

CSPR Executive Director Patrick Nshindano said fraud was taking away resources meant for national development to a selected few greedy individuals.

He said that that the fact that since there is an increase in suspicious transactions from 4.5 billion in 2017 to 6.1 billion indicates that the government is not doing enough to stop the leakage of national resources.

Nshindano has urged the PF administration to ensure that the findings of the FIC followed up by law enforcement agencies so as to deter other would be offenders for the benefit of the general population.

“Failure to bring to book individuals cited in the trends report will make the fight against corruption meaningless and will see a further increase in poverty levels in Zambia,” he said.

Some law firms have been cited among conduits being used to perpetuate alleged financial crimes in the country. According to the report, the Centre analysed cases related to nine (9) law firms amounting to K365 million.

The report further stated identified law firms assisted suspected criminals to mask the source of funds and aided its reinvestment or movement to foreign jurisdictions.

Most cases involved illegally obtained funds transferred to law firms who then facilitated the acquisition of property such as land and motor vehicles on behalf of the launderers.