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WHY MY PROPOSAL FOR CURRENCY CHANGE-OVER MAKES SENSE

WHY MY PROPOSAL FOR CURRENCY CHANGE-OVER MAKES SENSE

Dear Editor,

FIC has informed the nation that K8.6 billion was withdrawn from banks and only K0.1 billion was re-deposited. FIC says about K8.5 billion is missing from circulation.

Since the total cash in circulation is about K106 billion, this means about eight percent of Kwacha is missing from circulation, thereby adversely affecting the economy.

The missing Kwacha could have been stolen or misappropriated. Whatever the reason, the onus is on the security agencies to prove that the persons who withdrew the cash or are in custody of it are guilty of an offence.

The onus is not on the persons who withdrew or are in custody of the cash to prove that they are guilty. The right of innocence until proven guilty by the accuser is Constitutional.

Proving persons guilty is a very difficult job, especially if the accused have access to big money, and therefore, good lawyers. That’s why prisons are full of poor people who commit petty crimes, and not rich people who commit serious, heinous crimes.

After all, there is no law that bars any person to keep in own house money for himself, or any other person, regardless the amount or quantum. Though the act is actually economic sabotage, people have every right to keep as much money as they wish in their homes.

To go round this legal and Constitutional barrier, you simply change the currency and impose conditions for cost recovery. The Bank of Zambia has powers to recall a currency, issue another currency, and levy a cost-recovery mechanism or penalty for deposits made.

This way, there will be sure recovery of the K8.5 billion that is missing from circulation.

I am very sceptical of police mechanisms for recovery of this money for a number of reasons. First, the livelihood of accused persons being convicted is very, very slim, as I have explained.

Second, the court process takes forever.

Third, such actions end up motivating suspects to use sophiscated methods of hiding and laundering the money.

Fourth, you end up enriching individual policemen or other agents involved in the raids. We have cases like Chingola, where, a few months ago, a suspect was gunned down after recovery of the money, and the officers shared the loot.

Already with the latest Faith Musonda case, the police has given two conflicting statements. In the first statement, the police announced the amounts recovered, stating that the counting was done by BoZ staff, and that the money is deposited at the central bank.

The following day, the police issued another statement claiming the counting will be redone, and that the value may less or more…..this statement signals the beginning of problems. Which values shall we believe, the first or second? And why?

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