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Money-laundering, financial terrorism under control: BoN

by Elvis Mboya


Bank of Namibia’s move to implement anti-money laundering and financial terrorism law that came into effect this month is laborious for customers, but an essential tool to curb financial crimes in the country, financial players say.  

Namibia Bureau de Change manager , Susan van der Westhuizen, however, laments that people who send and receive money through electronic money (e-money) transfer find it cumbersome and time-consuming with its detailed paperwork brought about by the implementation of anti-money laundering and financial terrorism law.

Westhuizen further says, although many clients complain that they spend a lot of time and energy filling up piles of forms, financial crimes are minimised.

 “Customers now have to fill in lots of information including detailed personal information of the sender and/or receiver as well as where the money comes from. It’s uncomfortable to them but good for the financial system,” the banker says.

The head of marketing at Standard Bank Namibia, Thaddius Maswahu says that it is essential that financial institutions adhere to the new rules to help monitor money-laundering. He adds that sometimes customers may not be comfortable revealing personal information but it’s part of the campaign to curb financial crimes.

“To tackle this issue, we need co-operation from all players in the industry. In the past, people would open fake bank accounts to transact huge sums of money and that called for strict measures,” he expressed.

According to BoN report issued by BoN Governor, Ipumbu Shiimi, this determination applies to all persons who intend to issue e-money in Namibia and it became effective at the beginning of last month.

The law requires that e-money issuers be responsible for ensuring that their e-money payment instruments are not misused for money laundering, terrorist funding, or other “unlawful activities” regulated under the FIA and its accompanying regulations.

E-money issuers must fully comply with Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and all other requirements under the FIA.

Shiimi says that it is the central bank’s obligation to ensure that e-money is a payment instrument that requires authorisation from the bank before being issued to ensure the safety and stability of the National Payment System.

The application of the Act by virtue of Section 14 of the amended Payment System Management Act of 2003 (Act No. 18 of 2003) states that unless expressly stated otherwise, the provisions of the Act, as well as the related determinations and directives, shall apply to all e-money issuers.

This determination, he says, shall apply to all persons who intend to issue e-money in Namibia in terms of Section 5 of the amended Payment System Management Act of 2003 (Act No. 18 of 2003).

Both banks and non-bank actors are permitted to apply for authorisation to issue e-money. Permission to offer specific e-money-related services is subject to authorisation by the central bank.

Current e-money issuers, according to BoN, must be able to demonstrate their full compliance within six months after issuance of this determination.

Shiimi said: “Any entity wishing to issue e-money in Namibia must apply to the Bank for authorisation.

An application for authorisation shall include all documents, data, or other information as prescribed by the Bank.

“An e-money issuer’s license shall be renewed annually upon payment of the required fees, provided that the e-money issuer is in full compliance with the requirements of this determination,” says Shiimi.

E-money issuers shall notify the Bank of any proposed significant changes to the scope or nature of the e-money services provided.

Such notification shall be provided at least 30 days prior to the date on which the change is to take effect.

BoN further states that individual accounts, business accounts and agent accounts shall be subject to transaction and balance limits, as may be determined by the Bank from time to time.

E-money issuers, BoN adds, shall be required to submit reports as prescribed by it.

In order to ensure that it is able to effectively supervise e-money issuers, it reserves the right to inspect all e-money-related records, data, or other relevant information, whether in the possession of the E-money issuer or its agent(s).

E-money issuer, person or entity who contravenes or otherwise fails to comply with this determination , according to the BoN governor, shall be subject to penalties and cancelation of their permits as provided under the amended Payment System Management Act, Act 18 of 2003.