Nepal’s House of Representatives passes anti money laundering bill to ward off greylisting threat

KATHMANDU: In a significant move to fortify its position against potential greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Nepal’s House of Representatives (HoR) on Wednesday gave its nod to the Anti Money Laundering and Business Promotion Bill.

This legislative step is crucial for the nation, as it strives to align its financial systems with international standards and policies aimed at combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

The urgency to pass this bill was underscored by the escalating risk of Nepal falling into the FATF greylist due to perceived shortcomings in implementing necessary laws in compliance with global AML/CFT standards. The parliamentary committee on Law, Justice, and Human Rights had previously endorsed the bill on October 11, setting the stage for its endorsement by the HoR.

The comprehensive Anti Money Laundering and Business Promotion Bill includes amendments to 19 different laws, ensuring their compatibility with international AML/CFT standards. Notable among these are the Land Tax Act 1977, Tourism Act 1978, Building Act 1998, Nepal Rastra Bank Act 2002, Securities Act 2007, and Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Act 2007. Additionally, amendments to the Insurance Law (Amendment Bill) 2023, Cooperatives Act 2017, Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act 2019, Electricity Regulatory Commission Act 2017, and Prevention of Organized Crime Act 2013 have been incorporated.

While the bill awaits final approval from the National Assembly and authentication from the president to take full shape, its passage is a significant step in addressing the deficiencies highlighted in the recent Mutual Evaluation Report by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). Released in September 2023, the report emphasized the need for Nepal to expedite legislative changes and enhance the capacity of relevant authorities.

The government faced mounting pressure to introduce these legislations following the APG’s critique, citing a lack of high-level political commitment as the reason for delays.

The report recommended urgent legislative changes as a crucial ‘to-do list’ to address the identified shortcomings, urging the swift implementation of laws and a significant boost in the capacity of relevant authorities.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as the global anti-money laundering agency setting standards for AML/CFT, has been closely monitoring Nepal’s commitment to amending necessary laws.

In response, Nepal has expressed its dedication to these amendments and requested a grace period of one year before potentially facing greylisting, affirming its commitment to aligning its financial systems with international standards.

Fiscal Nepal |
Thursday February 8, 2024, 12:50:06 PM |

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