IPUMBU Shiimi, the Governor of Bank of Namibia (BoN), on Friday said he doubts whether any BoN personnel are involved in the latest fake money scheme. Three N$50, one N$100 and one N$20 counterfeit note were confiscated by the Police last week.
The discovery was made in the same week that a new range of banknotes was released.
On Friday, Shiimi urged the public to be vigilant. "The Bank of Namibia is warning the public to be on alert against counterfeit banknotes imitating the newly designed banknotes issued in circulation on May 15 2012."
He stressed that fake notes are of a very poor quality as the new banknotes have the latest security features to protect the notes from being forged. "This is why the detected counterfeit notes could hardly compare with the real notes."
Shiimi said it is important for people to familiarise themselves with the new notes to enable them to tell real money from fake notes.
The three main security features are a watermark, colour-shifting security thread and raised ink on the real notes.
According to Shiimi, "counterfeit banknotes are a global phenomenon, but in Namibia the incidence is very low and there is no need for serious concern."
A suspect was arrested in connection with the incident.
Replacing Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi with Founding President Sam Nujoma on the N$10 and N$20 notes did not cost the Bank of Namibia (BoN) a cent, the central bank said recently.
The BoN had to print a new series of all banknotes anyway to ensure that there will be enough currency in the country for the next three years, Ndangi Katoma, the central bank's director of communications, said. The BoN will pay N$154 million for the new series, which has also been upgraded with enhanced security measures.
"It costs nothing to change the portraits on the banknotes," Katoma said.
"Because of the need to ensure currency supply at all times, this means that even if the security features on the new banknotes including the changing of portraits were not changed, the bank was still going to print money and incur the cost of printing money".
The new notes, the BoN did not want to say how many, have already been printed by a specialist company in Switzerland and one in France. Katoma said it is common practice not to name the printing companies due to the security risk involved, but added that they got the business "through a competitive tender process".
The BoN will only pay for the notes upon delivery at different times over three years, he said.
Katoma said the number of notes printed is based on a currency forecasting model which indicates how many notes should be released into circulation at any given time.