Friday, 20 March 2015

Zambia Probes Its US$48.3m 'Stake' in 69 Swiss Leaks Accounts

HSBC Bank in Switzerland
By Paul Shalala 

Zambia’s Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) has launched investigations to ascertain how US$48.3 million which is linked to Zambians found itself in HSBC Bank in Switzerland.

FIC Chief Executive Officer Mary Sikazwe says her institution has launched investigations into the 69 bank accounts whose owners are said to have links with Zambia.

“That issue is of concern to us as Ministry of Finance. We have launched investigations to find out how that money ended up in Switzerland,” said Ms Sikazwe.

She added that her agency is liaising with other agencies abroad to ensure they find out how the money with Zambian links was banked in Switzerland, a European country which is famous for its tax haven status.

“We want to find out if any illegal activities were done. If there was illegality, then the law will take its course,” said Sikazwe in response to a question from a journalist during a meeting in  Lusaka for the dissemination of findings on illicit financial flows in Africa.

The 69 account holders who banked the US$48.3 million (K314 million) are part of 100,000 clients of HSBC in Switzerland who were recently exposed by a former IT employee who hacked into the bank’s system and stole 60,000 files before fleeing to France.

The US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) summerised the details and and published an interactive map on their website.

According to ICIJ, 13 of the account holders hold Zambian passports and are part of a wider expose which has been dubbed “Swiss Leaks” by the international media.

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