Namibia gets tougher on illicit financing

May 12, 2023

The Cabinet Committee on Legislation has given the green light to 11 Amendments and 20 new Bills that will bring Namibia's legal framework up to speed with the latest global standards for combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.

According to Zenobia Barry, the Acting Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), this marks a positive momentum for the country as a significant step forward in addressing mutual evaluation findings related to Namibia's anti-money laundering, counter-financing of terrorism and counter of the proliferation of financing (AML/CFT/CFT).

"To effectively mitigate the risk of a targeted review or Grey Listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Cabinet approved a National Action Plan in December 2022, following the adoption of the Namibian Mutual Evaluation Report by the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group’s Council of Ministers in September 2022," Barry said.

The Acting Director highlighted that the National Action Plan includes the proposed legislative changes and enhanced effectiveness measures by law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to address the findings.

She said the AML/CFT/CPF Council, chaired by Johannes !Gawaxab, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises Iipumbu Shiimi, and the Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila continue to guide the implementation of the National Action Plan, while both public and private entities within the financial integrity ecosystem are regularly reporting on the progress they are making.  

The approved amendments include changes to several existing acts, such as the Financial Intelligence Act of 2012, the Prevention and Combating of Organised Crime Act, of 2004, and the Prevention and Combating of Terrorist and Proliferation Activities Act, of 2014.

Furthermore, the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, the Police Act of 1990, the Extradition Act of 1996, the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act of 2000, the Companies Act of 2004, the Close Corporations Act of 1988, the Banking Institutions Act, and the Payment Systems Management Act.

In addition to these amendments, the committee also approved two new bills, the Trust Administration Bill and the Virtual Assets and Initial Token Offering Services Bill. These bills are aimed at regulating the use of virtual assets and enhancing trust administration services.

The Trust Administration Bill will provide a legal framework for the administration of trusts in the country, ensuring that trust assets are properly managed and protected.

The Virtual Assets and Initial Token Offering Services Bill, on the other hand, seeks to regulate the use of virtual assets and initial token offerings, ensuring that they are used in a responsible and secure manner.

"The above-mentioned relevant laws will enjoy priority in the next sitting of parliament for Namibia to meet its international obligations. The Council calls on all relevant stakeholders to develop and implement action plans to ensure the smooth implementation of the revised legal framework," said Barry.

This comes as Namibia is making frantic efforts to fully comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulations to avoid it being greylisted.

This comes after a report from the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) found that Namibia was not in line with some global best practices when it comes to AML and CFT regulations related to the legal framework and the successful prosecution of financial crimes. 

Non-compliance could result in Namibia being grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which could have significant consequences for the country's financial system. Reputational harm could reduce foreign direct investment, impact capital flows and increase due diligence costs.

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Last modified on Monday, 15 May 2023 18:56

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