FIC figures do not speak to those in SONA 2019

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Mostly True

The statements, information and/or data referenced in this article have been assessed and found to be mostly true.

4th July 2019

Martha Nangolo

Martha Nangolo is a researcher for Namibia Fact Check and a research associate of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)

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During his State of the Nation (SONA) speech in the National Assembly chamber on 17 April 2019, President Hage Geingob made the following statements:

“According to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), 7 813 reports were submitted during the period under review, of which 329 cases were referred to law enforcement agencies, for further action. The value of these cases was 9.2 billion Namibian Dollars, involving the top five offences of tax evasion, fraud, corruption, drug trafficking and illicit wildlife products.”

The important claims in the President’s statements are:

  • 7 813 reports were submitted during the period under review;
  • 329 cases were referred to law enforcement agencies for further action;
  • The value of these cases was 9.2 billion Namibian Dollars, involving the top five offences of tax evasion, fraud, corruption, drug trafficking and illicit wildlife products.

Using information sourced from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) we have managed to attempt an assessment of the accuracy of these statements and figures.

What we found was:

  • From January to December 2018, the FIC received 30,133 reports;
  • Of those, suspicious activity reports (255) and suspicious transaction reports (1,325) were a combined 1,580 reports;
  • Of those, only 241 reports were referred to law enforcement agencies for further investigation;
  • The total value of the combined reports suspected of involving criminality was N$3.77 billion;
  • And the top suspected crimes behind these transactions were: Tax evasion, fraud and Ponzi scheme.

While these figures differ markedly from the ones presented by the President in SONA 2019, it should be borne in mind that the President referred to the “period under review”, which is unclear but we assume it to be the April 2018 to March 2019 financial year, while the figures provided by the FIC are for the calendar year January to December 2018.

Our assessment:

Given that the periods for which we have claims and figures do not overlap precisely, despite the significant differences in the figures and information, we have to give the President’s statements/claims the benefit of doubt, thus a stamp of mostly true.

The president’s reference to the figures appears on page 13 of the 2019 State of the Nation speech, which can be accessed at the following link: http://209.88.21.83/documents/84084/826266/PresidentGeingobStateOfTheNationAddress2019.pdf/f34dfeb4-7f92-47b1-9c4f-05fe8bba028a?version=1.0