Windhoek – Namibia has significantly reduced the scale of suspect financial transactions from N$17 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2019/20 to N$13.8 billion (US$926 million) in the current financial year, official statistics show.
Bank of Namibia Governor and Chairperson the Financial Intelligence Centre Mr Johannes !Gawaxab this week said the country was making headway in combatting illicit financial flows (IFFs), which have cost Africa more than a trillion dollars over the years.
Mr !Gawaxab said, “The ability of criminals and criminal organisations to use financial institutions to launder funds, as well as the potential risk to the reputations and safety and soundness of these institutions, and the overall stability and integrity of the financial system, remains a source of concern.
“Many countries have taken extensive action in recent years to put in place permanent measures to prevent and combat all forms of economic and financial crimes inclusive of money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation, and Namibia is no exception.”
He said despite the operational problems brought on by COVID-19, Namibia had kept a tight leash on IFFs.
“Every year, developing economies lose trillions of dollars in illicit financial outflows, primarily as a result of criminal proceeds derived from profit generating crimes such as corruption, fraud, theft, illicit wildlife trafficking, tax evasion as well as financing terrorism and proliferation.
“These are funds that could be used to help developing countries achieve their long-term economic growth and development goals. Financial crime overall and corruption in particular, harm economic development and deprive people of economic opportunities; these activities endanger society’s basic fabric, including safety and security, as well as political stability.
“Safety, security, and political stability are required for the successful implementation of in particular, economic development projects and programs,” he said.
The Namibian central bank chief said the country’s analytical outputs continued to be impactful and had contributed intelligence to, and assisted law enforcement officials and prosecutors to seize ill-gotten funds and clamp down on IFFs.
Mr !Gawaxab said they had so far issued 16 intervention orders involving 20 accounts to the value of N$5 million (US$336,000) and secured fraud and money laundering convictions against one Namibian and 11 foreigners involving N$24 million (US$1.6 million).
The Financial Intelligence Centre, Mr !Gawaxab said, had issued provisional restraint orders involving N$600 million (US$40.3 million).
“Not only does the institution, in close collaboration with other critical regulatory, law enforcement and private sector role players, help the country reduce and address any outflows of funds considered to be proceeds of crime, it is a critical intervention in our collective efforts to promote economic recovery, root out corruption and financial crime, and promote effective governance,” he said.