Govt rushing to amend the Money Laundering Act

KATHMANDU: After failing to fulfill its commitments on asset laundering and being placed on the ‘grey list’, the government has put the process on the fast track to amend the related laws.

The government, through the Ministry of Law, has registered a bill in the House of Representatives to amend some laws related to prevention of money laundering and promotion of business environment.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari stopped some of the ordinances that the previous government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba was going to bring through ordinances. After the risk of being on the gray list, the government has started the process of amending the law in the new parliament.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its regional organization Asia Pacific Group (APG) have been active in Nepal for some time.

APG team came to Nepal two months ago. At that time, the APG team, including the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Mahaprasad Adhikari, representatives of the Government of Nepal, Chief Secretary Shankardas Bairagi, Inspector General of Nepal Police Dhiraj Pratap Singh, Inspector General of Armed Police Raju Aryal and others, asked about the law related to money laundering.

The APG team held a total of 101 meetings with government agencies during their visit to Nepal and seriously discussed the law related to money laundering. Along with the government agencies, the APG team consulted and discussed with the private sector as well. Government agencies and officials were not included in this meeting.

“The APG team did hundreds of meetings not just for discussion. The team went to the market and conducted on-site monitoring of how the law related to money laundering is being implemented and followed. The APG team tried and did cross-verify the government’s claims on money laundering,” a source close to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The EPG team questioned the government officials saying, “Will no high-ranking official, including the leader of the political party, from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, including the judge of the Supreme Court, be prosecuted in the case of corruption?”

Is there no corruption in Nepal? The EPG team asked. The EPG team also raised the issue of how corruption and money laundering cases have gone from the courts to the investigative mechanisms.

They drew attention to strengthen the money laundering,” the source said, “The EPG team became more angry saying that money laundering has become a political weapon in Nepal. EPG’s understanding is that it is just a scam to use someone to collect their money.

The EPG team expressed their displeasure by saying that in your country, judges of the Supreme Court and commissioners of the Authority are involved in corruption cases.

EPG is still sending questions about money laundering by various government agencies. The government agencies are also sending the answer. Sources say that the National Bank is sending answers to those questions from the Prime Minister’s Office.

If the law on money laundering is not amended, there is still a risk of Nepal being on the gray list. If it falls in the gray list, it seems that there will be a big shock in international trade since the opening of LC from Nepal.

A few days ago, Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel promised to amend the law related to asset laundering through fast track, keeping in mind the risk of creating unfavorable conditions for bringing in investment in Nepal.

According to the same commitment, it is understood that the Ministry of Law has registered the Law Amendment Bill on Asset Laundering in the House of Representatives on behalf of the government on Friday.

Through this bill, the government has prepared to amend laws and regulations related to export (control), shipping, tourism, buildings, Nepal Rastra Bank, securities, cooperatives, insurance, etc.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday February 15, 2023, 08:40:24 AM |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *