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BIPA implements mandatory beneficial ownership requirements for all legal persons to combat financial crime

BIPA implements mandatory beneficial ownership requirements for all legal persons to combat financial crime

The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) has recently implemented mandatory beneficial ownership requirements for all legal entities.

This is to promote transparency and combat financial crime. Legal entities are now required to record and submit accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information to the Registrar, as per the recent amendments to the Close Corporations and Companies Acts.

BIPA said these amendments were gazetted and took effect on 21 July and that they are responsible for collecting, maintaining, and providing Beneficial Ownership (BO) information to relevant authorities including the Financial Intelligence Centre.

“Therefore Directors, Shareholders, and Members of legal entities are now under statutory obligation to submit accurate and up-to-date records of beneficial ownership information to the BIPA Registrar,” they added.

BIPA Chief Executive, Vivienne Katjiuongua said these amendments, resulting from recommendations in the Mutual Evaluation Report by the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group and the Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog on anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing, and anti-proliferation financing, have been swiftly implemented to enhance corporate governance and combat illicit financial outflows related activities.

“By working together, we can foster an environment of transparency, compliance, and responsibility within the business community, ultimately contributing to a more robust and resilient economy,” she added.

BIPA has therefore embarked on their regional BO Awareness and Outreach Program which is underway in all 14 regions from 31 July to 08 August, in order to ensure that the impacted stakeholders understand the application and implication of these requirements.

“As of 7 August, all new applications for business registration, submissions for annual returns, and applications for amendments to existing registered businesses will necessitate the mandatory submission of a BO Form. We will not process any applications from natural or legal persons without the accompanying BO Form,” they said.

BIPA urged the public to visit their website to familiarize themselves with the new statutory provisions or alternatively contact them through their call centre at 061 299 4433. The specific statutory provisions can be found in Section 122A and 16A of the Companies and Close Corporations Amendment Acts, 2023.


 

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.