Suspected proceeds of crime reach N$17 billion in 2019
The Financial Intelligence Centre at the Bank of Namibia received reports of potential proceeds of crime worth N$17 billion during the 2019/20 financial year.
According to the Financial Intelligence Centre’s 2019/20 Annual Report released this week, a combined total of 344 spontaneous disclosures and responses to requests for information to the Anti-Corruption Commission; Ministry of Finance, Namibian Police Force, Office of the Prosecutor General, and foreign Financial Intelligence Units, was made during the period under review.
The Centre also contributed to 84 investigations conducted by Namibian Police Force and the Anti-Corruption Commission. The top five underlying offences investigated include fraud, corruption, poaching, dealing in drugs, illegal deposit taking/pyramid schemes and money laundering.
Furthermore, investigations by these law enforcement agencies with assistance of the Office of the Prosecutor General secured 15 money laundering convictions and criminal sanctions applied, while there are 50 other cases with elements of money laundering offences currently pending before various courts.
Leonie Dunn, Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre said their efforts to curb financial crime remain hampered by a limited understanding of its statutory mandate by some stakeholders and the public.
Further challenges experienced are, amongst others, a tough economic climate, the impacts of Covid-19 and a continuous imbalance between the FIC’s extensive mandate and the available human, technological and financial resources.
“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,” Dunn said.
To overcome identified challenges, a Public Private Partnership and Integrated Investigative Task Force platforms was established to enable the pooling together of critical and needed resources to fast-track investigations, evidence collection, asset identification seizing, freezing etc. in priority cases involving national interest.
She said during the coming year, they will work closely with stakeholders to identify and address vulnerabilities across the financial system by sharing knowledge, raising awareness of criminal methodologies, and influencing compliance behaviours.
“This will ultimately safeguard Namibia’s financial system and ensure it contributes to economic development and the general welfare of Namibians,” she added.