The reporting of suspicious transactions or activities is one of the most effective measures to fight against money laundering and prevent the financing of terrorism. This means that the more that Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR’s) and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are submitted to the Financial Intelligence Centre, the less risk is posed to Namibia’s financial system.

When should you report a suspicious transaction?

In terms of Regulation 22 of the FIA, this must occur within 15 working days after the suspicion or belief concerning the transaction or activity that gave rise to the requirement to report arose, unless the Centre in writing approves the sending of the report after the expiry of that period.

What constitutes a suspicion?

A suspicious transaction will often be one where the transaction raises questions or gives rise to discomfort, apprehension or mistrust. When considering whether there is reason to be suspicious of a particular situation one should assess all the known circumstances relating to that situation. This includes the normal business practices and systems within the industry where the situation arises.

A suspicious situation may involve several factors that may on their own seem insignificant but when taken together, may raise suspicion concerning that situation. Therefore the context in which a situation arises is a significant factor in assessing suspicion. This will however vary from business to business and from one customer to another.

Who should report suspicious and unusual transaction reports?

According to Section 33 of the Financial Intelligence Act, No.13 of 2012 (herein after referred to as the “FIA”), the following persons are required to report suspicious and unusual activities:

• A person who carries on any business;

• Or is in charge of or manages a business;

• Or who is employed by a business;

• Or is a director of the business;

• Or is a secretary to the board of the business;

• Or is contracted by any business; and

• Who knows, or reasonably should know or has a suspicion that it is used or about to be used for money laundering or financing of a terrorist activity or an unusual transaction, to report this to the Financial Intelligence Centre.

Why should you report suspicious transactions?

Each and every business must be involved in the fight against crime by filing STRs or SARs to the Financial Intelligence Centre. Your reports will assist the Centre in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. By reporting suspicious and unusual transactions, businesses will minimise the risk of the proceeds of crime being cleaned through Namibia’s financial system and will consequently lead to a safer business operating environment. The risk of crime and money laundering can be minimised when businesses take necessary measures to recognise suspicious and unusual transactions.

How does one report an STR to the Centre?

In terms of Regulation 20 of the FIA, a report must be made by means of the internet -based reporting available on the Centre’s website at www.fic. na/goAML. In exceptional cases where a person does not have the technical capability to make a report electronically, that person may complete the forms in Annexures 1 and 2 of the Regulations and send it by facsimile to the Centre on +264(61) 2835687/ 6918/5922 or hand deliver it to the Centre at 71 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek.

Is the reporter protected?

Yes. In terms of section 50(2) the identity of a person that provides information as well as the information provided is confidential and thus may not be disclosed unless it is done to assist the Financial Intelligence Center.

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