Consultation underway to address legal gaps in money laundering and terrorism financing
The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) said a public consultation process is now underway to address findings related to its Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation framework to safeguard the integrity of the financial system.
After the review and adoption of the mutual evaluation report, Namibia was given a year to close all findings to avoid a targeted Financial Action Task Force (FATF) review.
This is according to the FIC acting Director, Kristian Hamutenya, who said Namibia underwent a second peer review as part of the mutual evaluation to assess the country’s compliance with the United Nations conventions on money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
He also pointed out that Namibia is going to great lengths to meet the deadlines to prevent the country from being greylisted. “Greylisting means that the FATF will closely monitor the country’s financial transactions with the rest of the world. When this occurs, the country’s financial system may suffer reputational harm, affecting foreign direct investments, capital flows, and increasing due diligence costs,” he said.
As the country moves into 2023, the acting director said that to effectively mitigate the risk of a targeted review, the Cabinet approved a National Action Plan in December 2022, which includes proposed legislative changes and enhanced effectiveness measures by law enforcement agencies to address the findings.
Hamutenya disclosed that Namibia is also working to develop a national policy and supporting legislative framework for Virtual Assets. “The mutual evaluation report identified the absence of such a framework as a shortcoming in the national framework,” he noted.
He added that all regulated entities, regulatory and supervisory bodies, civil society, academia, public and private sector role players, and members of the wider public are invited to provide inputs and comments to the proposed amendments and Bills mentioned above.
He said the relevant national stakeholders have hitherto prepared draft amendments and Bills, which include the Financial Intelligence Act, 2012 as well the Prevention and Combating of Organised Crime Act, 2004, and the Prevention and Combating of Terrorist and Proliferation Activities Act, 2014.
Other draft amendments and relevant Bills include the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977; the Police Act, 1990; the Extradition Act, 1996; the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act, 2000; The Companies Act, 2004; the Close Corporations Act, 1988; The Banking Institutions Act, (Act 2 of 1998), and the Payment Systems Management Act, (2003).
Public consultation is scheduled to take place from 13 to 17 February 2023 at the Bank of Namibia Auditorium.
The FIC assured stakeholders that addressing findings raised in the mutual evaluation remains a top priority for the government. “In this regard, all public and private sector stakeholders are under strict commitment and instruction to do everything possible to expedite the implementation of the Cabinet-approved National Action Plan,” he concluded.