Speech by the keynote speaker Ms. Mary Chirwa-Director General of the Financial Intelligence Centre during the Whistleblowers Protection Conference.

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The Whitsleblowers Protection Conference was organized by OSISA/News Diggers on 2nd October 2019 in Lusaka:

GOOD MORNING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 

IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE THAT I STAND BEFORE YOU THIS MORNING TO GIVE THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THIS VERY IMPORTANT CONFERENCE, DUBBED, “WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION CONFERENCE’’. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE INVITATION BY NEWS DIGGERS AND OPEN SOCIETY INITIATIVE FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA (OSISA). I WISH TO PERSONALLY APPLAUD THE ORGANIZERS FOR THE INITIATIVE TO ORGANIZE SUCH A FORUM WHICH I BELIEVE WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE IDEAS AROUND WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION IN ZAMBIA. THIS WORKSHOP HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER THE MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIVE WINGS.

DETAILS ON FINANCIAL CRIME

I AM GLAD THAT THE DIVERSE MINDS IN THIS AUDITORIUM ARE AWARE THAT FINANCIAL CRIMES CONTINUE TO REMAIN AN ISSUE THAT REQUIRES MULTIPLE DEFENSES ACROSS ALL FRONTS. FINANCIAL CRIMES IN WHATEVER FORM AND NATURE HAVE POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON THE ECONOMY, SECURITY AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE. THIS THEREFORE CALLS FOR CONCERTED EFFORTS BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO COME UP WITH EFFECTIVE MECHANISMS TO COUNTER THIS VICE.   WHISTLEBLOWING IS AN EARLY WARNING SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS MALPRACTICE TO BE ADDRESSED BEFORE IT RESULTS IN SERIOUS HARM.

TO THIS EFFECT, THE VALUE OF WHISTLEBLOWERS IN COMBATTING FINANCIAL CRIMES AND OTHER ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES IN THIS DISPENSATION CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED. WHISTLEBLOWERS REMAIN A CRITICAL INSTRUMENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIMES WHETHER IN THE PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR. HOWEVER, THE MULTIPLE PRESSURES THAT EXIST CAN PREVENT WHISTLEBLOWERS FROM SPEAKING OUT.  WHISTLEBLOWING REQUIRES ONE TO BE FEARLESS AND PUT THE COUNTRY (THE BIGGER PICTURE) BEFORE SELF.  IT REQUIRES US TO DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN IN THE FACE OF DANGER.

IT IS AN UNDENIABLE FACT THAT WE LIVE IN A DISPENSATION WHERE SOCIETY IS HUNGRY FOR INFORMATION AND IN THIS VEIN YOU CANNOT RULE OUT THE MAJOR ROLE WHISTLEBLOWERS PLAY IN SHARING INFORMATION AROUND CLANDESTINE ACTIVITIES. IT IS INDEED UTTERLY TRUE THAT WHISTLEBLOWERS PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE DETERRENCE AND PREVENTION OF FINANCIAL CRIME. AM SURE COLLEAGUES FROM THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WILL ATTEST TO THAT. IT IS IMPORTANT THEN TO PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS. 

 

The full keynote speech can be downloaded below.