Namibia could remain greylisted due to lack of business compliance

Bipa spokesperson Ockert Jansen

Namibia is in danger of remaining greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

This comes after only 40 000 businesses have complied with the directive to update company documents with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa).

Bipa is currently in the process of updating business ownership documents under its beneficial ownership directive.

Bipa spokesperson Ockert Jansen yesterday told Desert Radio, only 40 000 out of the 218 000 registered businesses have complied with the directive since last year.

“So, we have an 18% compliance rate.

This is a very serious matter, because if compliance is so low, Namibia would remain on the grey,” he said.

Namibia has been greylisted because it has not sufficiently improved its beneficial ownership declaration compliance figures.

The country has nine months to improve on this.

Jansen said over 100 000 businesses have been sanctioned by Bipa after failing to comply with the beneficial ownership directive.

“From 12 March, we started issuing administrative sanctions.

The law permits the registrar, which is Bipa, to issue sanctions and penalties of up to N$50 000 once off for non-compliance, and N$1 000 a day for every day this contravention persists,”said Jansen.

He said the authority could also impose criminal sanctions as prescribed by the Bipa Act.

“It is important for businesses to comply, because financial intelligence agencies are able to investigate financial and related crimes, and it also helps with speedy prosecution if necessary,” Jansen said.

He said the authority is taking steps against non-compliant businesses.

Jansen said because Bipa wants to promote business it has been lenient on penalty charges.

“The current penalty, based on metrics, is a once-off penalty of N$3 750, and then there’s a daily penalty of N$75 for each day you have not submitted your beneficial ownership form,” he said.

Jansen said those with penalties will not be required to pay them immediately when they submit the beneficial ownership form, and can pay it off.

“You can make arrangements, but the most important thing is that you comply by submitting the form,” he said.

Jansen said the Companies and Close Corporations Act was amended last July to include beneficial ownership as a legal requirement for all registered businesses.

“It means all registered businesses – whether you’re a closed corporation, company or a Section 21 entity, foreign or local, as long as you are registered in Namibia – are required to submit to the registrar accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News