Just after the elections, banks saw unprecedented over the counter withdrawal of cash. Towards the end of august, the country began experiencing a shortage of cash on market which affected mostly the informal sector who trade in cash transaction. The government responded by putting restrictions on over the counter withdrawals. The government also encouraged the general public to use electronic payment systems to reduce the pressure on banks. Banks initiated measures which included a 24hrs notice to be given to a bank for cash withdrawals. Account holders wishing to withdrawal cash were also required to explain the intended use of the cash.
We believe that some criminal elements, sensing a risk that their accounts would be frozen were behind the unprecedented cash withdrawals. We are not surprised that Faith Musonda was holding 65 billion kwacha in her house. Faith is a business women with several bank accounts in Zambia and abroad. Her lawyers have pointed that the money came from the Sale of emeralds.
We believe that their transactions should have gone through the bank with payments immediately deposited. However, if their money wasn’t clean, they were likely to pay her in cash. Her receiving cash suspected to have been a proceeds of crime makes her an accomplish. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that selling a property to a person whose source of income cannot be explained is a crime. In the Uk, it’s a crime to sale a property to someone whose sources of funds are deemed to be proceeds of crime.
There is no one who can pay for emerald in cash with more than 1m K. There is no doubt that financial criminal activities were a hallmark of the PF. The unfortunate part of it is that we do not have well qualified financial crime prosecuting lawyers. This case would be lost just like that of Austin Liato who had k2b.
We are of the opinion that it will be in the interest of the public finances to let her come back and use the money to pump it back into the economy. Starting a case which we cannot win will simply be a waste of our resources. In the end, only lawyers will benefit. We reiterate that some of these cases requires us to reach a deal with these suspected perpetrators of crime. USA frequently reachers such deals. The USA government makes around 20b $ a year in such deals.