The Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Ipumbu Shiimi, has warned the public to be on alert for fake money recently found in circulation in the capital. Specifically N$20, N$50 and N$100 counterfeit banknotes imitating the newly designed banknotes issued in circulation on 15 May 2012, have been found.
These counterfeit banknotes were detected and some were already confiscated, said Shiimi. While the matter is currently under investigation, some suspects were already apprehended by the Police, he confirmed late last week. So far only five individual counterfeit notes have been recovered and “the problem seems to be limited,” he said.
However the governor highlighted that the new series of banknotes contain the latest security features. “This is why the detected counterfeit notes could hardly compare with the real notes. It is, however, important that members of the public familiarise themselves with the basic security features of the new banknotes in circulation to help them detect any counterfeit notes,” he said.
The easiest way to detect a counterfeit banknote from a genuine banknote is to always look, feel and inspect the banknote. There are 8 overt security features on the banknotes, but he highlighted three security features which are easy to identify. Check for the watermark by holding the banknote up against the light until you see the translucent image matching the main portrait of Dr. Sam Nujoma and the number ‘10’ or ‘20’ corresponding to the value of the note. For bigger denominations look for the portrait of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi and the number ‘50’ or ‘100’ or ‘200’ depending on the specific note.
Secondly look for the colour-shifting security thread. Hold the banknote. On the front side, the thread should form a solid line and on the back side a dotted line, with colours changing and the word ‘BoN’ should also appear. Finally feel the banknote to identify the raised ink on the braille dots, the value of the note and the words ‘Bank of Namibia’ raised on the note.
“The counterfeits that the Bank of Namibia has seen so far are of poor quality and the above described and other security features are absent. This makes it easy for members of the public to spot the difference between real and fake notes,” said Shiimi.
“Incidences of counterfeit banknotes are a global phenomenon, but in Namibia this is very low and there is no need for serious concern. Nevertheless, members of the public are encouraged to approach the nearest police station to report any case of counterfeited currency or the Bank of Namibia. This is important because possession and or reproduction of counterfeit Namibia Dollars are illegal and criminals will be punished accordingly,” the central bank governor warned. Another concern raised by citizens regards the date printed on the new N$20 notes. Shiimi explained that those specific notes were printed in 2011, but it was later decided only to release them to the public this year with the rest of the new banknote denominations. “They are valid, legal tender and have been properly gazetted,” he said.