Namibian Anti money laundering and Financial Intelligence Act soon effective

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Namibia’s first ever anti-money laundering law will become effective in July, paving the way for monetary authorities and law enforcement agencies to effectively monitor and prosecute those suspected of money laundering activities in that country, a senior Bank of Namibia (BoN) official said Monday.

Ipumbu Shiimi, BoN assistant Governor, said the new law could be applied in retrospect, would bolster the central bank’s efforts in combating finance-related crimes, drug trafficking and other related crimes.

Speaking on the sidelines of a week-long training workshop of the Eastern and Southern Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMG), Shiimi said that the new law compelled financial institutions in Namibia to report any suspicious financial transactions and release information to the central bank, which will then co-ordinate with law enforcement agencies.

“By July, we would be able to monitor and analyse data from financial institutions and pass on the information to law enforcement agencies to effective arrests, ” Shiimi said.

Currently, any money-laundering activities are only done through banking supervision and Shiimi said this had not been very effective. “Bank supervision was not designed for anti-money laundering….which is not a criminal activity yet in Namibia,” Shiimi said, adding that the law would be applied retrospectively.

Money laundering encompass any financial transaction which generates an asset or a value as the result of an illegal act, which may involve actions such as tax evasion or false accounting.

Illegal activity of money laundering is now recognised as potentially practised by individuals, small and large businesses, corrupt officials, members of organised crime through a complex network of shell companies and trusts based in offshore tax havens.

Financial experts say that the increasing complexity of financial crime, the increasing recognised value of the so-called financial intelligence in combating the crime and the speculated impact of capital extracted from legitimate economic activities had led to an increased prominence of money laundering in political, economic and legal debate.

He said “If a crime was committed before July, then the law will always go back. ..they will still be prosecuted.”

The new law, which will be known as the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, coincides with the promulgation of a Financial Intelligence Act, which will also become effective in July. Panapress .

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