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By ALICE NACHIEMBE
The Zambia Tax Platform (ZTP) has urged Law Enforcement Agencies to act on and investigate the findings of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in relation to financial crimes perpetrated over the 2019 period.
Zambia Tax Platform Coordinator Ibrahim Kamara said the report findings and revelation are not aimed at educating the public on measures to detect, prevent and deter financial crime but also to provide basis grounds for public prosecution of the crimes.
Mr Kamara said the Trends Report revealed that tax evasion and avoidance among multinational companies, particularly those in extractive industries robs Zambia of much needed resources for development as profits are largely externalized.
He said the proceeds of crime from tax evasion rose from K195 million in 2018 to K450 million in 2019 with mining multi-nationals accounting for a significant portion.
Mr Kamara said in May, 2020 the Supreme Court of Zambia ordered Mopani Copper Mining to pay the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) an additional tax of ZMW 240 million (approximately USD 11,5 million).
He said the case is a landmark victory for the Zambia Revenue Authority and the country in that it showcased evidence of tax avoidance through base erosion and profit shifting.
Mr Kamara said the Trends Report also showed a significant increase in the value of suspicious cash withdraws.
He said ZTP calls for stronger political will in the fight against financial crimes especially as highlighted in the FIC trends report.
Mr Kamara said failure by authorities to act on the findings from the recent FIC report will result in the report becoming a mere academic exercise.
He said measures need to be put in place to deal with illicit financial flows and to hold multinational enterprises financially accountable.