Almost a year after the position became vacant, the Financial Intelligence Centre would soon appoint a new director.
A career spy has allegedly been vetted and ready to take over the reins at the FIC, to fill the void left by Leonie Dunn, who was promoted to the position of deputy central bank governor over a year ago.
Dunn was appointed as the second deputy Bank of Namibia governor in December 2021, joining Ebson Uanguta at the high table.
The two now deputise governor Johannes !Gawaxab (67).
As the FIC finalises the recruitment of a director, insiders have once again dismissed claims that the centre intends to hire someone with the ability to compromise major corruption cases.
This, an insider says, is because the centre has handed over all requisite information to relevant law enforcement agencies dealing with the Fishrot case.
“The appointment of the FIC director has nothing to do with the Fishrot case. As far as the FIC is concerned, the evidence has already been submitted to the police and is public information. That evidence belongs to the police now. Even when the trial starts, nobody from the FIC will be required to testify. So, whoever is peddling these lies is simply plucking things from the air.
“The FIC picked up on all transactions related to Fishrot before 2016 and gave all evidence to investigating authorities [police and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)]. At this stage, for the FIC to influence the matter is far-fetched,” an insider, who preferred anonymity said, upon inquiry.
The appointment of the new FIC director is at the final stages, with a name soon to be submitted to finance minister Iipumbi Shiimi for consideration.
This process is spearheaded by the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Council.
The oversight body is made up of among others the ACC, BoN, Namibia Central Intelligence Service, Law Society of Namibia, ministries of justice and home affairs and Office of the Prosecutor General.
It is chaired by !Gawagab.
“The Financial Intelligence Act 13 of 2012 outlines the process for appointing a suitably qualified person to lead the FIC. After consulting with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Council, the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises must appoint a director of the centre who is suitably qualified, fit and proper,” !Gawagab said recently in a response to questions from New Era.
Asked at what stage the process is, he said: “The council has made significant progress in identifying suitable candidates for the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises’ consideration as the appointing authority. The process is currently in the vetting stage – and once completed, the council will make the necessary recommendation”.
The businessman then expressed the council’s pleasure in the leadership provided by the FIC’s management team and “ably guided the institution’s critical tasks during this period”.
“Council recognises that the director of the FIC is a critical resource in the fight against financial crimes and will act decisively to bring this process to a close,” he assured.
The BoN governor elected not to disclose a name or names of those shortlisted or interviewed for the sought-after position.
“As it is not the appointing authority, the council is unable to disclose the applicants in accordance with the Act’s current provisions and best practices,” he said.
On the part of the finance ministry, its spokesperson Wilson Shikoto said: “The act says the minister appoints on the recommendation of the council, chaired by the governor. Therefore, it’s right to speak to [the] Bank of Namibia on the matter”.
The FIC exists to develop a strong legal basis to combat money laundering, financing of terrorist and proliferation activities as well as other financial crimes within the borders of Namibia.