Call to empower Anti-Corruption Act

Ogone Tlhage
Deputy finance minister Maureen Hinda-Mbuende says the Anti-Corruption Act should be strengthened to tackle illicit financial flows.

She made the remarks at a workshop hosted by the Bank of Namibia. Namibia is leading efforts to strengthen mechanisms to fight illicit financial flows with the assistance of the World Bank. “[Anti-Corruption Commission director general] Paulus Noa will agree with me that this may require a review of our Anti-Corruption Act, amongst other legal instruments. I mention this because recently we had a case involving the Public Service Employee Medical Aid Scheme (Psemas), which was said to be fraud and not corruption,” Hinda-Mbuende said.

“There is indeed a fine line or overlap in corruption versus mis-invoicing, fraud, tax avoidance and transfer pricing; thus illicit financial flows,” she added.

The deputy minister said Namibia strengthening its capacity to deal with illicit financial flows was opportune. “The current intervention comes at an opportune time where promises of several natural endowments have been announced. It is thus important that Namibia must ensure that we mitigate the threat of illicit financial flows.”

Review pending

For his part, Noa said financial crimes were covered in the Finance Act, but it is up to lawmakers to give the anti-graft law a wider mandate. “Crimes such as tax evasion and under-invoicing are already covered in the finance laws such as the Finance Act. However, if lawmakers find the need to extend the mandate of the Anti-Corruption Commission [ACC] to commercial crimes, the Anti-Corruption Act should be amended to include such crimes,” he said.

Noa added that the ACC will embark on a review of its law later this year.