Statement by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu, MP, during the introduction of the new Board of the Financial Intelligence Centre to the Media, Tuesday 10th September 2019, Ministry of Finance, Lusaka, Zambia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Ministry of Finance. I invited you today to introduce the new board of the Financial Intelligence Centre [FIC].
The Role of the FIC
Before I do that, let me take this opportunity to recap on the role of the FIC.
The Financial Intelligence Centre (‘The FIC’) is a statutory body established under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act No. 46 of 2010 (as amended by Act No. 4 of 2016). It is an independent and autonomous government institution under the Ministry of Finance.
The core function of the FIC is to receive and analyse financial transactions reports bordering on suspected money laundering terrorist financing and proliferation submitted to it by accountable institutions.
The FIC is 100% funded by the Ministry of Finance. There are no external funds that come to the Centre. This underscores the resolve of the Government to strengthen the Centre as part of the process to ensure its integrity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu has appointed a new board for the Financial Intelligence Centre in accordance with section 6 G of the FIC Act No. 46, of 2010.
The appointments come at the back of the end of tenure of the previous board in January 2019. In this regard, I thank Dr. John Kasanga, for his contribution as interim board chair. I also thank the other members of the previous board for their tireless efforts in furtherance of the objectives of the FIC.
The new members appointed by the president are:
- Hon. Justice Prisca Matimba Nyambe, SC;
- Ms. Pelagia Kalunga;
- Dr. Mike B. Goma;
- Ms. Regina Kasonde Mulenga; and
- Mr. George Chilengwa Siame.
The new FIC board chairperson is Mr. George Chilengwa Siame.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the FIC Board, congratulations on your deserved appointments.
I have no doubt that with your diversity and experience, you will be equal to the task and continue to make the Financial Intelligence Centre the leading institution in the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.
The Roles of the Board
You have a duty as the new board to uphold the operational independence of the institution as this is one of the requirements by the international anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism standards on the operation of the financial intelligence units.
The following are the roles of the board:
- Monitor and review the administrative performance of the Centre in the carrying out of its functions under the Act;
- Approve policies for the proper administration and management of the Centre;
- Review the implementation of cooperation agreements between the Centre and domestic or foreign designated authorities;
- Consider and approve the proposed budget of the Centre; and,
- Perform such other functions as are necessary to give effect to this act.
You will agree with me that corporate governance requires that the Board of Directors limit their roles to policy oversight and leave operational matters to the employees of the institution. As non-executive board, you need to ensure that you do not interfere with the operations of the Institution.
Coordinative Role of The FIC Among National AML Institutions
You will note as you settle that the FIC is the Secretariat of the National Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Task Force of senior officials which is chaired by the Ministry of Finance. They coordinate domestic, regional and international AML/CFT matters and latitude should be accorded to them to ensure the country is not lagging in implementing AML/CFT standards. So far, they have done extremely well by coordinating the recent mutual evaluation for Zambia.
International Accreditation of the FIC
In September 2018, the FIC was admitted as a member of Egmont Group, following a rigorous assessment by the international community on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism, as to whether the FIC was operating in line with the international standards. Zambia’s application to become a member of Egmont Group as required by the global anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism standards commenced in 2014. Over the years, Zambia underwent several rigorous assessments to determine the Country’s readiness for membership which assessments have yielded positive results.
The Government expects the Board to continue with initiatives that embellish Zambia among countries with best practice in financial intelligence.
Once again, I congratulate you on your appointment and wish you all the best in your new role as board members of the FIC.