WINDHOEK – During the 2018/19 financial year the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) intercepted and intervened in 25 suspicious financial transactions valued at close to N$472 million. As empowered by Section 42 of the Financial Intelligence Act (FIA), the FIC can restrict bank accounts (suspected of holding proceeds of crime) by directing accountable institutions or reporting entities not to proceed with carrying out transactions in respect of funds under suspicion for a period of 12 working days.
Moreover, statistics contained in the FIC’s recently released annual report indicates a constant increase in FIA reporting types over the years, especially as far as suspicious transactions and suspicious activity reports is concerned. As such, the FIC, in collaboration with competent authorities, continued to make inroads in disrupting criminal activities reflected as a high risk in Namibia’s national Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorist and Proliferation (AML/CFT/CPF) Risk and Threat Assessment.
According to FIC’s latest annual report, released late last week, the number of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) reported in the 2018/2019 financial year amounted to 1 328, representing a two percent decrease, compared to 1 356 STRs recorded in the 2017/2018 financial year. Factors attributed to the slight decrease in STRs reporting is FIC’s consistent AML/CTF trainings, supervision and monitoring of quality of reporting which subsequently caused a substantial increase in the number of Additional Information Files (AIFs) reported during the period under review.
As for the Suspicious Activities Reports (SARs), the number of SARs reported in the 2018/2019 financial year amounted to 279, compared to 139 SARs recorded in the 2017/2018 financial year. The increase is also attributed to consistent AML/CTF trainings, supervision and monitoring into the quality of reporting.
“The FIC’s continuous engagement with AML/CFT/CPF stakeholders ensured that a high turnover was recorded in the recovery of potential proceeds of crime. Additionally, it ensured that the FIC’s regulatory footprint widened significantly with the FIC subjecting 1,850 institutions (as at March 31, 2019) to AML/CFT/CPF Regulatory Monitoring and Supervision activities,” read a summary of the 2018/19 annual report. Regionally, the FIC in collaboration with relevant national AML/CFT/CPF stakeholders, continued to participate in the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Working Group and Plenary meetings. Internationally, the FIC contributed to strategic and policy documents as well as ML/TF/PF Risk, Trends and Methods of the Egmont Group of FIUs, as well as to the important work done in this field by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“During the year under review, some challenges were experienced. Amongst others, a tough economic climate and a continuous imbalance between the FIC’s extensive mandate and available human and financial resources were the main challenges experienced. This imbalance contributes to delays in timeous removal of proceeds of crime from the financial system and/or disrupting the flow of financial resources to those involved in the criminal activities,” read the statement by the FIC. Additionally, FIC’s efforts remain hampered by limited understanding of its statutory mandate by some members of the public, other important private and public stakeholders as well as some competent authorities. The FIC is Namibia’s national agency established in terms of the Financial Intelligence Act, 2012 (Act No. 13 of 2012) as amended. The FIC’s mandate is to assist Namibia in the prevention and combatting of money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing activities in collaboration with government, law enforcement agencies, supervisory and regulatory bodies, as well as identified private sector stakeholders.
However, the FIC has no law enforcement investigative powers. Its powers are limited to the receipt, analyses and dissemination of intelligence products, which alerts competent authorities on criminal conduct by natural persons, legal persons or both. The FIC also assists in ongoing investigations through financial analytical work, when requested to do so by the competent authorities.
2019-08-12 07:43:52 11 days ago