Windhoek – Namibia is formulating legislation to pursue and seize unexplained wealth as part of the efforts by President Hage Geingob’s government to illicit financial flows (IFFs).
According to the Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Africa loses about US$88.6 billion – representing 3.7 percent of continental GDP – through IFFs every year.
A World Bank study says in Namibia’s case, this comes to losses equivalent of between five and 10 percent of GDP annually.
Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Ms Leonie Dunn told the media in Windhoek this week that the country was structuring Unexplained Wealth Orders, and there would be no scared cows when it came to implementation.
“FIC, during the launch of its annual report on August 5th, announced that it is involved in a national effort to reinforce Namibia’s non-conviction based criminal asset forfeiture legal framework, including the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO)… The implementation of UWOs is intended to align Namibia’s financial crime prevention and combating environment with international best practice, while also reducing financial crime in response to shifting risk patterns,” she said.
She said effective use of UWOs would help the government successfully combat financial crime.
“The Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Council has endorsed the recommendation of UWOs on the basis that they be included in the amendment to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, as amended,” Ms Dunn aded.
The High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel) report released in February 2021 says IFFs drain resources meant for development, entrench inequalities, drive instability, undermine governance and erode public trust.
Further, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, launched in February 2021, says IFFs are a key impediment to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
IFFs include trade misinvoicing, tax abuse, cross-border corruption, and transnational financial crime.