I would like to present a simple but yet realistic scenario of a case in which a former government minister has been charged for “property and other assets suspected to be proceeds of crime”. If you’re an ACC officer, please pay attention. Here are the simple procedures you may follow before instituting an arrest:
- Demand for all payslip for the last 15 or 20 years if the suspects claims to have been in employment. Scrutinize those payslip and ascertain which bank account the salary was being paid into. Total up all the net earnings. Do the same for the spouse and possibly any other close family members.
- If suspect claims to have been running businesses, demand for all certificates of business registrations and/or incorporations. Once produced, verify all of them with PACRA to ascertain existence and lists of shareholders and directors.
- Visit ZRA to verify personal and corporation taxes paid by the suspect and their purported businesses. Ideally, demand from ZRA all the returns for the period from dates of initial registration. Compute all taxes paid by the suspect and their companies. Use the deduction method to ascertain revenues, if not indicated on the ZRA schedules. You may also obtain tax schedules and rates for each financial or tax year from Ministry of Finance, Bank of Zambia and/or ZRA. Use these rates and schedules to calculate taxes expected against taxes actually paid.
- Visit all statutory bodies such as NAPSA, Workers Compensation, NHIMA, RTSA, and all the other industry specific ones such as tourism, forestry, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, etc etc. All remittances to these bodies shall be collated and computed onto schedules for any possible analytics.
- Visit the Ministry of Lands and The Real Estate Associations of Zambia to obtain all information on ownership of land and property by the suspect and their associated companies. Here also, search for land and properties in the names of all possible proxies to the suspect. Proxies may include spouses, children’s, parents, siblings, cousins, close friends and any company connected to the suspect in whatsoever way.
*This area requires serious IQ to be able to extrapolate and escalate investigations to very high levels because it gets very grey around here. I suspect most investigative agencies struggle here. But no need to worry, as long as we have the time, we can seal it.
- Creat a tree, at this point, so that all the pieces are being thrown into sections. Ideally, the tree maybe formed at the beginning but it’s not so advisable because at that point, we don’t know the nature of the ‘animal’ we are dealing with. However, by number 6, we would have created a picture of the problem at hand and therefore able to draw the tree. The is just a basic tool we would use to place our jigsaw pieces in order to start creating the problem picture in order to understand it.
- If permissible, engage Special Branch (in case any info is available about the suspect) , and then also visit CRB, FIC, ZICTA, Bankers Association of Zambia BAZ, Pensions & Insurance Authority of Zambia PIAZ, etc etc, and collect ALL info and data concerning the suspect and their associates. These tests would not be conclusive but will certainly provide some answers to earlier questions and potentially create several other leads.
- Establish whether suspect or their associates have stakes or interests in any foreign business outside of Zambia. This can be done through the Interpol network and other similar international protocols which Zambia subscribes to. Further, ascertain all financial transactions and transfers therein, the suspect’s network of interest and associated.
- Ensure that every step taken during the investigation is recorded to the last detail. All evidence must be filed and referenced using a predetermined system. Where possible, digitize the filing and evidence as a back up and for possible data analysis.
- Time frame must be set from the beginning and compare with actual as assignment runs. It is very important, of course, that planning is done at the onset of the exercise.
These procedures are, ideally, to be undertaken even before an arrest is done. Typically, these procedures can be completed within a month if only one officer is working on the case.
Any Investigator who can’t perform these simple procedures does not deserve the salary they are drawing, no. I pray that this helps our friends in ACC, DEC and CID.
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