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DEC Director General Launches 2023 International Fraud Awareness Week in Lusaka

Mr. Nason Banda, the Director General of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), delivered a compelling speech at the launch of the 2023 International Fraud Awareness Week, organized by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Zambia Chapter. 

The event took place at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, with a focus on the theme “Fighting fraud in the digital era.”

Addressing a distinguished audience that included the Acting President of the ACFE Zambia Chapter, Mr. John Mulenga, the Treasurer, Mr. Victor Chisenga, the Training Director, Mr. Abiut Daka, the Chapter Secretary, Mr. Stephen Mkwananzi, representatives from government agencies, the corporate sector, fellow anti-fraud professionals, and other dignitaries, Mr. Nason Banda expressed his gratitude for being the guest of honor at this significant event.

Mr. Banda acknowledged the timeliness and relevance of this year’s Fraud Awareness Week theme, emphasizing that the digital era has presented both opportunities and challenges. 

While digital technologies have enabled broader connections, instant information sharing, and real-time transactions, they have also opened new frontiers for fraudsters and criminals who exploit these tools to commit crimes.

Mr. Banda stressed the severity of the fraud problem, citing estimates that fraud costs the global economy trillions of dollars annually. 

He provided insights into the work of the Drug Enforcement Commission, particularly its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU), which investigates financial crimes often linked to fraud.

Between 2020 and 2023, the DEC handled 30 reported cases involving over ZMW 287.4 million, leading to the freezing of several bank accounts and mobile money wallets with a total balance of ZMW 92.7 million. The Commission also seized 11 motor vehicles and arrested 25 suspects. 

Many of these cases were related to digital financial services fraud, revealing the involvement of internal stakeholders and employees in fraudulent activities. Common online fraud types included phishing, identity theft, account takeovers, and payment fraud.

Mr. Banda stressed that the fight against fraud is a collective effort that cannot be undertaken solely by law enforcement agencies. 

He emphasized the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in protecting the integrity of the financial system. 

The DEC has established a team of skilled investigators specializing in digital forensics and advanced fraud detection techniques. Collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, both nationally and internationally, is also a priority.

Mr. Banda proudly announced that six dedicated DEC staff members had passed the Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) examination, a globally recognized certification for fraud examiners. 

This achievement reflects the DEC’s commitment to combating fraud effectively.

To address the growing threat of digital financial fraud, Mr. Banda suggested implementing prevention and detection strategies, including robust authentication and authorization methods, employee training, secure infrastructure, and network architecture. 

Detection strategies encompass transaction monitoring, behavioral user system analysis, and artificial intelligence (AI) for enhanced fraud detection.

In conclusion, Mr. Banda encouraged all attendees to actively participate in the 2023 International Fraud Awareness Week’s events and activities. 

By working together, they can raise awareness about fraud and strengthen the ability to protect communities from financial cybercrime.

The 2023 International Fraud Awareness Week was officially declared open, setting the stage for a week dedicated to combating fraud in the digital era.

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