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THINK-TANK ANALYSES IMPROVED FIC ACT

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

The new Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Amendment Act has extended its jurisdiction to non-financial businesses or professionals-motor vehicle dealers and real estate agents.

In giving the summary of the analysis at its launch, Center for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Legal Researcher, Chileshe Mange, outlined the improved powers of the FIC in executing its duties.

Ms Mange said these included enhanced cooperation with foreign supervisory authorities which remained to be seen how it would play out in jurisdictions that had robust secrecy laws.

An analysis of the new Act showing its improved powers to deal with non-compliant financial entities has been launched by CTPD.

The FIC (amendment bill) 2020 was passed into law in December last year as FIC (amendment) Act No.16 of 2020.

“Powers of FIC to enforce sanctions include a directive to take remedial action or to make specific arrangements, the restriction or suspension of certain specified business activities and a financial penalty not exceeding one million penalty units (K300, 000).

“Others include a reporting entity or person may, within thirty days of receipt of an administrative sanction, appeal to the High Court against an administrative sanction imposed by the FIC or a supervisory authority,” Ms Mange said.

She explained that the import of the provision to enforce sanctions was that empowers the FIC to collect an administrative fine from a non-compliant entity that admits its guilt or non-compliance.

CTPD Executive Director, Isaac Mwaipopo, said the FIC played an important role in the financial regulatory system.

Mr Mwaipopo said this was especially magnified in light of monitoring and curbing financial related crimes such as money laundering and also proliferation of terrorist financing.

“Zambia just like many nations continues to face developmental challenges which are heightened on account of high prevalence of financial crimes.

“According to the FIC, between 2018 and 2019, an estimated K7 billion in revenue was lost due to corruption and money laundering. The FIC in the past has itself faced serious challenges especially with regards financial resources,” he said.

Mr Mwaipopo said the civil society organisations hopes that operations of the FIC could be enhanced by actualising its autonomous status as well as amending some of the provisions in the law that limited its operations.

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