!Gawaxab calls for new ways to mitigate new forms of financial crimes

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Chairperson of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Council, Johannes !Gawaxab has urged the FIC, accountable institutions, and the entire financial sector to proactively establish the requisite capabilities for mitigating the introduction of new forms of financial crimes.

!Gawaxab who was speaking at the launch of FIC’s annual report for the 2023/24 financial year highlighted that by doing so, Namibia cannot only protect its economy and resources but also attract more responsible and sustainable investments.

“This is particularly critical as new entities, such as foreign investors, multinational corporations, and emerging technologies, enter the landscape. These entities bring with them complex financial structures and practices that may be vulnerable to exploitation for illicit activities. By being proactive, we can ensure that these entities operate within the bounds of the law and contribute to our economic growth in a sustainable manner. We are called to be responsible stewards of our resources for the sake of our country and the generations to come!,” he said.

He went to state that to stay ahead, countries and their respective AML/CFT/CPF prevention and combatting stakeholders must rethink AML/CFT/CPF policy, legislative and implementation design, invest in technology and highly skilled teams with individuals who can navigate hostile threats alongside regulatory changes and technological innovations.

“As such, AML/CFT/CPF stakeholders are responsible for developing future-fit AML/CFT/CPF prevention and combatting institutions. During the year ahead, the world will continue to look to the FATF to identify risks, update standards, and issue guidance to improve the fight against financial crime ML/TF/PF.”

Namibia is currently positioned at a pivotal juncture, marked by the intersection of significant developments in the oil and gas sector and the emergence of green hydrogen in the renewable energy sector.

“These developments offer unprecedented opportunities for economic growth and development. However, it is imperative to remain vigilant against the inherent risks associated with some of these sectors, including Illicit Financial Flows associated with Corruption, Money Laundering, Terrorism, and Proliferation Financing. Effective anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism policies and measures are key to the stability and integrity of the Namibian financial system. Namibia should continue its commitment to disrupt financial crimes,” !Gawaxab said.

According to the OECD, a mere 22% of the estimated US$1.2 trillion in annual proceeds from the sale of oil and gas commodities is remitted to government treasuries. This raises concerns regarding potential misuse and the subsequent depletion of resources for domestic mobilisation in oil-producing nations. Furthermore, the OECD has identified corruption in commodity trading as an “emerging area of heightened risk,” encompassing practices like trade mispricing, intricate kickback schemes, and offshore transactions.

!Gawaxab also expressed that it is essential to mention some changes that occurred during the year 2023, which affect the national AML/CFT/CPF policy framework in order to stay ahead of the curve.

“The Financial Intelligence Amendment Act, 2023 (Act No. 6 of 2023) (the amendment act) separated the Council’s role as the Government’s leading AML/CFT/CPF policy advisor from its previous combined role under the Financial Intelligence Act, 2012 (Act No. 13 of 2012) as amended of being both AML/CFT/CPF Policy Advisor and Governance over FIC matters. The amended Act ascribed all governance and oversight functions of the FIC mandate to an independent governance Board,” he explained adding that in this regard, the Board was appointed by the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises (the Minister) on 15 March 2024, chaired by Advocate van Der Westhuizen.

“The Minister also appointed Bryan Eiseb as Director of the FIC, who took office on 01 January 2024. On behalf of the Council, I wish him all the success in his new role. I have faith in his capabilities to transform the FIC at this watershed moment. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) stands as an independent institution of the Republic of Namibia living up to its mandate thanks to the visionary efforts of FIC leaders – past and present. We take great pride in the collective accomplishments of the team.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *