The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of the Bank of Namibia yesterday reported that during the 2020/21 financial year, it received 1 585 suspicious transaction reports and 177 questionable activities.
The red-flagged dealings were reported from accountable and reporting institutions, internally- generated reports, and members of the public.
This signifies an increase of 35% of reports, compared to the 2019/20 financial year.
The FIC noted that it disseminated a total of 435 intelligence disclosures to domestic and international stakeholders.
Analysed transactions were valued at N$13.8 billion, some of which are still under investigation by law- enforcement agencies and other competent authorities.
The chairperson of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Council, Johannes !Gawaxab, admitted at yesterday’s release of the FIC annual report that accountable and reporting institutions, FIC domestic partners and other stakeholders experienced operational challenges because of Covid-19.
However, he noted that their ability to engage the FIC was not significantly impaired, as evidenced by the robust output via reports created within the ecosystem.
“Suspicious Transactions Reporting (STR) increased by 36%, and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from financial institutions declined by 15.8%, while an increase in such reports from the general public was observed,” !Gawaxab quantified.
The report further stated that during the year under review, the FIC issued 435 intelligence disclosures (comprising both spontaneous disclosures and responses to requests from domestic and foreign law- enforcement agencies and foreign financial intelligence units), which is a 26% increase from 2019/2020.
In its analysed transactions, it reported the issuance of 16 FIC Section 42 interventions (involving 20 accounts) valued at N$5 million, indicating proceeds of criminal activities, fraud and money laundering convictions of 11 foreign nationals and one Namibian, where about N$24 million was secured for state coffers.
Other analyses included the successful preservation of N$17 million in cash and eight vehicles worth over N$2 million in matters relating to fraud, theft and money laundering. In addition, some N$600 million in assets were provisionally restrained in high-profile corruption, fraud and money laundering cases.
Previously unreported tax assessments and tax recovered amounted to N$1.1 billion and N$74.2 million, respectively, covering the period from 2014 to the 2021 financial year.
“A wildlife crime case (illegal trading in wildlife), where one Namibian was convicted, fined N$500 000 or alternatively two years imprisonment, as well as the confiscation of two luxury vehicles, was also concluded by the FIC.
In addition, employee fraud against a government institution has led to the forfeiture of three motor- vehicles and two houses valued at N$890 000 and N$1.5 million, respectively. “These properties were forfeited for the benefit of the affected institution”, reads the report.
Furthermore, the analysed transactions for the period involved the forfeitures of N$204 000 in cash and two immovable properties (flats) valued at about N$2 million relating to illegal foreign currency exchanges. FIC ensured that N$3 million remained preserved in a bank account pending an appeal in the Supreme Court. An initial N$1.7 fraud and theft investigation, where two Namibian persons were arrested, was expanded when the FIC identified additional fraudulent transactions valued at over N$11.6 million.
Finally, a positive amount of N$244 000 was identified through the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and was seized by the Namibian Police. –firstname.lastname@example.org