Money Laundering Unit Red Flags N$329 Million

Namibia’s financial intelligence unit flagged N$329 million as “potential proceeds of crime” in the course of last year, the Bank of Namibia has said.

Investigations into tax assessments also red-flagged assessments worth N$69.3 million, money that the financial intelligence unit deemed not ‘kosher’.

“Possible offenses identified during analyses of the [308] reports received [during the year] were, among others, corruption, fraud, tax evasion, contravention of exchange control regulation, rhino poaching, theft, diamond smuggling, illegal scams and illegal casino gambling,” the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reported in the Bank of Namibia annual report for the period between January and December 2014.

FIC says in 2014 it shared 170 intelligence reports, its own reports, with law enforcement agencies after “proactive analysis” of transactions that reeked of money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.

The FIC unit also dispatched 56 reports on requests from law enforcement agencies and foreign financial intelligence units who had requested FIC information to supplement own investigations.

“The aim of these reports was to facilitate the seizing, freezing and confiscation of suspected proceeds of crime within Namibia and in foreign jurisdictions,” says the Financial Intelligence Centre.

Local law enforcement agencies made 35 requests during the year, compared to 31 requests logged in 2013. While foreign financial intelligence units made three requests, compared to one request logged in 2013.

The unit also issued nine intervention orders in 2014 restricting N$8.7 million suspected proceeds of crime allowing for further enquiries to determine the legitimacy of the funds and where appropriate, enable law enforcement agencies to initiate court application.

“The Financial Intelligence Centre contributed to successful preservation applications in at least four High Court cases involving N$2.3 million potential proceeds of crime during 2014,” the report says.

FIC says it received more requests for information in 2014 than in 2013. However, the number of suspicious transaction reports from banks, law enforcement agencies, commercial institutions and businesses decreased considerably from 423 reports in 2013 to 308 reports in 2014. A significant percentage of the reports came from financial service providers. There are also reports from vehicle dealers, gambling houses, lawyers, and members of the public.

The decrease in the number of suspicious transactions is attributed to “measures put in place to increase the quality of both suspicious transaction and suspicious activity reports, compliance training, compliance inspection, industry specific guidance and feedback provided to institutions on the quality of such reports to the FIC”.

A number of FIC reports and interventions contributed to the preservation and forfeiture of proceeds of crime, the report says.

BoN’s FIC, which is statutorily mandated to assist with combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism, receives and analyses suspicious transactions and activity reports and shares its findings with law enforcement agencies for further action.

Source : New Era