By Adrian Mwanza
Leaking of information by the Financial intelligence Centre (FIC) and other agencies including on freezing of accounts to demonise individuals prior to investigations is malicious and risks jeopardising the outcome, former Water Development Minister Raphael Nakachinda has said. And Rainbow Party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba said fixing political opponents and their associates was a genuine fight against corruption.
Mr Nakachinda said the FIC was acting like political vuvuzela’s that was targeting people who were perceived to be in bad books with the government. He said it was uncalled for to have information leaked by the FIC and seemed that it was being used for political propaganda.
”’The investigations are not supposed to be known to the public because it will create a wrong impression and people and people whose accounts have been frozen would be viewed as criminals” he said. Mr Nakachinda said FIC was being used for retribution and it created an impression that having money was only the preserve for foreigners and not Zambians.
He said such institutions did not even apologise to the people under investigations after they are cleared of any wrong doing. And Mr Kabimba said the freezing of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) liquidator, Milingo Lungu’s accounts by the FIC was illegal if they did not inform the client before freezing them. He challenged the new administration to follow the right procedure and the law to the letter rather than persecute people with divergent views.
Mr Kabimba said that the time frame was too short as it was barely two weeks in office for them to start investigating people in this manner. Mr Kabimba said in an interview that it was not right if the bank and the FIC froze Mr Milingo’s accounts without prior informing the owner and the basis they were doing so. “It is going to seem as a witch-hunt and if they are not careful people are going to have a wrong perception about the whole issue,” he said. He said that he hoped that the move was not a witchhunt since the liquidator was appointed by the previous regime and was appointed to oversee KCM after government’s relationships with Vedanta fell off.
Mr Kabimba said he hoped that the fight against corruption was going to be genuine and that people would not be victimised and fixed for political reasons. “If what I’m hearing is true then it is wrong because they were supposed to inform him that they had frozen his accounts and given him the reasons for doing so rather than secretly taking action,” he said. He said he respected the fight against corruption but that there were certain procedures that needed to be followed.
Mr Kabimba said that the trend had been there even in the past when people found themselves on the wrong side of the law the minute they lost power.