Namibia: Financial Intelligence Centre Working On Introducing Unexplained Wealth Orders in Namibia

In a move to further prevent financial crime, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is pursuing the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders, which will require individuals to be brought before a court of law and prove that their wealth was acquired through legal means.

Chairperson of the FIC and Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Johannes !Gawaxab said the move will strengthen the investigative skills and toolkit of Law Enforcement Agencies.

"We are happy to report that consultations in this regard have been fruitful with all stakeholders. Indeed, once introduced our collaborative battle against financial crimes will take on new dimensions," !Gawaxab said.

!Gawaxab said this during the launch of the 2020/2021 Annual Report of the FIC. He said the reporting of suspicious transactions increased by 36%, while suspicious activity reports from financial institutions declined by 15.8%.

"The decline is attributed to the FIC availing more concrete guidance, to prevent defensive reporting which would have no real impact in disrupting financial crime, money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation," !Gawaxab said.

"Furthermore, an increase in reports from the general public was observed during 2020/2021 and this is a positive indication that Namibians are taking charge and reporting financial suspicious/criminal activity."

According to the annual report, N$13.8 billion potential proceeds of crime were analysed in the period under review, compared to N$17 billion in 2019/2020.

"However, this is not confirmed proceeds of crime as this can either be proved or disproved by further investigations, enquiries, and court processes by law enforcement," !Gawaxab said.

The FIC issued 16 intervention orders involving 20 accounts to the value of N$5 million; convicted 1 Namibian and 11 foreign nationals for fraud and money laundering and securing N$24 million for state coffers; preserved N$17 million in cash and 8 vehicles worth over N$2 million in a matter relating to fraud, theft, and money laundering.

The FIC further recovered previously unreported tax assessments and tax amounting to N$1.1 billion and N$74.2 million respectively covering the period from 2014 to 2021 financial year.

The FIC saw a record number (1585) of suspicious transaction reports, 177 suspicious activity reports, and 960 additional information files during the period under review, all of which represented suspicious transactions/activities.

This is a 31.5% increase over the number recorded in 2019/2020. In addition, the number of requests for information from law enforcement agencies grew from 75 to 80 in 2020/2021.

"Following the evaluation and analysis of these reports and requests, 435 intelligence disclosures were made to various law enforcement agencies for further investigation. Despite the operational problems brought on by Covid-19, this is a 26% increase from 344 reports/requests in 2019/2020," !Gawaxab said.

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