The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has confiscated about K22 million which was obtained fraudulently since the enactment of the law empowering it to seize proceeds of crime.
FIA director general Atuweni Juwayeyi-Agbermodji revealed the development to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on Wednesday.
She said the funds are now in its newly created Confiscated Funds Account. The director added that the authority is eyeing more proceeds of crime to be recovered.
FIA projects to confiscate about K120 million in the short-term, apart from restraining cash and property worth K30 million from various court cases, she told the committee.
Said Juwayeyi-Agbermodji: “The Confiscated Funds Account had collected about K22.4 million as of April 2018 and the figures are expected to increase as the banks and law enforcement agencies continue to make transfers into the account.”
She said the money was collected from cases going as far back as 2010 not related to the 2013 Cashgate fraud and they are working with institutions coordinating the cases to see how much they can collect and consolidate in the account.
FIA was established to prevent and combat financial crimes through detecting and investigating the crimes and disseminating financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau and Malawi Police Service.
According to Juwayeyi-Agbermodji, since February 2017, the agency has analysed 160 suspicious transaction reports (STRS) from which cases have been developed and disseminated to law enforcement.
However, FIA has closed six cases after considering them frivolous.
Unlike the previous law, the Financial Crimes Act (FCA) empowered FIA to set up an investigations department to support similar corruption and money laundering probes carried out by ACB and Fiscal Police.
So far, the FIA has 12 cases that are under investigation emanating from 23 STRs which will be investigated once the department starts operating in July this year.
Using its strengthened cooperation with law enforcement bodies such as Fiscal Police, FIA uncovered a pension fraud scheme in which an IT officer at the Accountant General siphoned over K100 million of pensions funds through monthly transfers of about K8 million into his personal account and those of his relations.
The FIA director said: “More could be arrested in connection to the syndicate and we are conducting financial investigations to locate assets bought with the stolen money.”
Committee chairperson Maxwell Thyolera said even though the committee is not satisfied with the pace at which the authority handles its cases, the authority is doing something commendable.
“It is good that they have handled over 160 files and managed to confiscate over K20 million, we need them to do more, they can do better,” he said.
The Financial Crimes Act (FCA) came into force on February 17, 2017. n