EU helps Namibia bolster fight against money-laundering

EU helps Namibia bolster fight against money-laundering

The European Union wants to help Namibia get off the greylist to ultimately support the country in strengthening an effective framework to fight money-laundering and all forms of organised crime. 

On Monday, the EU commenced with a week-long, tailor-made training workshop for relevant Namibian officials. 

These officials deal with financial intelligence analysis, investigations and prosecution of money-laundering and terrorist financing, as well as tracing and recovery of proceeds of crime.

This fight against ill-gotten financing follows Namibia’s listing on the Financial Action Task Force’s ‘greylist’ in February this year. 

During that time, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Namibia under increased monitoring, commonly known as greylisting, for shortcomings in compliance with international Anti-Money-Laundering (AML), Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Countering Proliferation Financing (CPF) standards.  While Namibia has implanted substantial FATF recommendations, the country still has important remaining areas of an action plan to be implemented to address deficiencies identified in a Mutual Evaluation Report of 2022. 

Namibia will only comply with the FATF standards once all recommendations are implemented.  This is what informed the basis of the training workshop, which was organised in collaboration with Namibia’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). 

After being placed on the greylist in February this year, Namibia requested the European Union Delegation (EUD) in Windhoek via an internationally-funded EU project for technical assistance to address shortcomings that culminated in greylisting.

The training workshop is expected to build capacity to enable Namibia to sufficiently implement necessary actions identified in the FATF action plan, and to enhance Namibia’s compliance with the relevant international and FATF standards. 

The aim is to see Namibia drop from the greylist within the shortest time.

During the workshop’s opening ceremony, Ana Beatriz Martins, EU ambassador to Namibia, said: “The EU is increasingly present alongside its partners in Africa to contribute to the stability of states, and to allow for informed, effective and sound financial systems. We are therefore very delighted to be here this morning – to offer our support to Namibia – not only to exit the greylist, which is a priority for us all, but to also strengthen her framework in fighting illicit financial flows, money-laundering and forms of organised crime.”

Bryan Eiseb, director of the FIC Namibia, commented: “Together, let us continue to strive for excellence, and make a lasting impact in safeguarding the integrity of our financial systems and protecting the interests of society at large. We must consolidate our efforts amongst state agencies, the private sector and international partners to disrupt financial crime. We must use all tools available in our criminal justice arsenal to identify proceeds of financial crimes, and intervene on these proceeds so that we demonstrate that crime does not pay”.

Workshop participants were drawn from the Namibian Police Force, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS), the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa), the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA), the National Payments System and Financial Surveillance, the Banking Supervision in the Bank of Namibia and the Financial Intelligence Centre. The training team sought to propel Namibia to comply with international money-laundering standards. 

This EU’s technical assistance to Namibia is being implemented in close coordination and under the supervision of the FIC and the EU’s international project.  Through this project, the EU supports 33 countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa as well as Yemen. 

This project works to strengthen the beneficiary countries’ national institutions mandated to fight illicit financial flows generated by forms of transnational organised crimes, including terrorism and terrorism financing.  According to the EU, the project has made significant strides in combatting illicit financial flows generated in Africa, and has helped to strengthen capacities of countries in the region to curb transnational organised crime. Given its wide geographic and thematic scope, the project organises training activities across several cities in Africa.  The participants at the training workshops are drawn from national entities of beneficiary countries, which the project works directly with, including financial intelligence units, law-enforcement agencies, public prosecution officers, asset agencies, customs and revenue agencies, regulatory/supervisory bodies and the judiciary, among others.