Now that the National Assembly has taken a break and everyone has had the opportunity to assimilate the vast volume of corruption and irregularities that have been exposed and which obviously have plagued the country for years, the aspect which has caused a fair share of surprise, if not disgust, is the role of the Irish in the FIU and the NDEA.
It first started with the most ridiculous notion imported into the Assembly that the FIU should have a CLASSIFIED building in Seychelles. Harbouring such absurdity, the director of the FIU refused to reveal the existence of an office block occupied by the FIU Irish officers.
It was only after being threatened by a member of the National Assembly with contempt of the house for providing false information to the effect that the FIU office was in the Central Bank and that the FIU had no other office, that he admitted to the occupation of a building block by the FIU. Finally realising how totally ludicrous the classified notion had been, he ended up inviting all the National Assembly members to visit the office building, to dispel accusations of illegal activities in the building.
It is believed that the Irish FIU officers had fooled the director and all staff of the need not to disclose the existence of the building for security reasons, in order to hide a private gym in the office building for the Irish officers, at the expense of taxpayers.
Moving from the ridiculous to the tragic, the FIU pretended to know all manner of things about Al Shabab in Somalia, which was in fact no part of their stationary mandate, let alone the fact that the CIA and other European Intelligence agencies do not have much of a clue what is happening in that country where no one has been able to predict or stop terrorist attacks in the heart of the country, within its capital.
With all that claim to intelligence information, however, all laughed when they did not have a clue who owned the land and building they occupied.
Then came the cherry on the cake of information, the Irish lawyer who was paid over 3 million rupees a year as state counsel handling money laundering cases, had not managed to obtained a single conviction for money laundering during all the years that the Seychellois taxpayers continued paying him one of the highest salary paid to a civil servant in Seychelles and many times more than his boss the Attorney General.
As if the above was not enough to shock everyone, we also learnt that the FIU has according to them embarked on counter terrorism activity which is also totally outside their mandate, let alone the fact that none of the Irish had any knowledge, experience or clue about counter terrorism. Blown out of our minds, we also heard that there were also entities overseas and locally who had been paid millions of rupees by taxpayers to provide intelligence information. This one was offensive as they were taking Seychellois for a bunch of lunatics, as we all know that Interpol, FBI, MI5 and other multinational and National intelligence agencies gladly exchange intelligence for free to combat international criminal activities. Only crooks are paid to catch crooks, so the Seychellois need to know who were being paid.
The Assembly should now seek the names of all those entities which are being paid as no one is convinced that there are any other agencies out there.
Another favourite pastime of the FIU was to write fake and filthy reports on individuals to present to gullible and naive state entities to influence decisions against persons seen as opposition supporters. All done to carry favour with the Government of the day to protect their undeserving and highly inflated salaries.
Finally, to give themselves importance and frighten government into believing that they were indispensable, they used scare mongering tactics, the most nonsensical one being their advice to government, as disclosed in the Assembly, that Seychelles was a high risk jurisdiction when in fact, with such low volume circulating in our banking system, we are of the lowest risk, never mind that Seychelles officially is not ranked as high risk in all international indexes. How the FIU managed to fool the Government for so long is indeed most baffling, using in the process expressions like de-risking, totally out of context as they did not have a clue what it really meant in the financial and banking world.
It is heard on the grapevines that many of the Irishmen working with the FIU and NDEA are leaving the country and if that is true, the Government and Police will have failed this country for the feeling out there is that all the Irishmen who have worked in the FIU or the NDEA should be immediately investigated and if it is too late, as all the Irish officers have gone, then Government has a duty to cleanse this country of the dubious activities of the FIU whereby most of the funds taken from the bank accounts in Seychelles were claimed to be taxes owed by those clients to foreign jurisdictions, but the FIU never fulfilled the sovereign obligation of Seychelles to remit such taxes to the countries to which those taxes were alleged to be due, but instead kept such funds and swindled all those countries while the Government closed its eyes though clear evidence had been given that such illegal practises were taking place.
Government should now audit those funds taken by the FIU and to save the honour and reputation of this country, return such taxes to those respective countries, regardless whether they will laugh at us that our FIU were collecting taxes on their behalf with no proof whatsoever that it was due in the first instance, but only collected by threats and harassment.
If these countries do not accept such funds, then it should be refunded to its original owners as they had been cheated under false pretences. Government has in many instances been warned that FIU officials who were the watchdog over money laundering, were themselves engaged in money laundering when they took a part of the funds in the bank account which they alleged albeit falsely, was dirty money and allowed the owners to go away with the rest in order to get a quick buck without proper court proceedings.
The final question which remains is whether the government institutions duped by the FIU were simply stupid or were they in connivance. Only a proper investigation will reveal the answer which is essential to avoid a repetition in future when it is apparent that even the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Chambers merrily went along with it all, with even the courts obliging by extending freezing orders for several period of 180 days to allow the FIU to embark on the fictitious tax collection exercises.