A TOTAL of N$471 million worth of transactions were intercepted which were identified as proceeds of crime, while a total of N$6,296 billion potential crime proceeds are being investigated in Namibia.
This was revealed at the launch of the Bank of Namibia’s Financial Intelligence Report 2018-2019.
Speaking at the launch of the report, the director of the national agency tasked with investigating financial crimes, Leonie Dunn, explained that the national agency tasked with investigating financial crimes in Namibia, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), uses financial intelligence to prevent the criminal abuse of Namibia’s financial system, as well as building integrity in systems.
She added that while the FIC does not arrest people, search their premises nor seizes their assets, Section 42 of the Financial Intelligence Act empowers the FIC to restrict bank accounts suspected of holding proceeds of crime by directing Accountable Institutions (AIs) or Reporting Entities (REs) not to proceed with carrying out transactions in respect of funds under suspicion for a period of 12 working days.
According to the report’s findings, 1 328 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) were filed in 2019, a 2.0% decrease compared to 1 356 STRs recorded in 2018.
Dunn stated that the attributing factors to the slight decrease in STRs reporting is due to FIC’s consistent AML/CTF trainings, supervision and monitoring into the quality of reporting which subsequently caused a substantial increase in the number of Additional Information Files (AIFs) reported during the period under review.
In contrast, the number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) reported in 2019 amounted to 279 – a 97% increase, compared to 139 SARs recorded in 2018.
Attributing factors to the increase in SARs reporting is due to FIC’s consistent AML/CTF training, supervision and monitoring into the quality of reporting.
The banking sector attributed to most of these reports filed.
When asked about how the national Financial Intelligence Centre let the defunct SME banks funds slip through the system, Governor of the Bank of Namibia (BoN), Ipumbu Shiimi, explaind that the FIC only oversees the flow of funds of the banks customers and does not oversee how bank owners/investors use these funds.
“BoN does not follow all transactions. Unfortunately, the people that were meant to safeguard the SME banks system were the ones committing the crimes,” Shiimi noted.