Cabinet approves two ordinances on anti-money laundering
KATHMANDU, June 17: The Council of Ministers on Sunday endorsed a decision to bring two crucial laws on curtailing financial crimes through ordinances, as it rushes to meet the deadline given by a global anti-money laundering body to prevent Nepal from being blacklisted as a country that provides fertile ground for illegal acts like money laundering and terror financing.
“The Extradition Ordinance and the Mutual Cooperation Ordinance were endorsed by the cabinet and presented to President Ram Baran Yadav for final approval,” Finance Minister Barshaman Pun told media persons at a press meet, expressing the hope that the decision would not generate controversy as “major political parties had agreed in principal on bringing these laws through ordinances”.
However, the cabinet did not approve the ordinance on Control of Organized Crime fearing controversy as some of its clauses had created hullabaloo among parliamentarians when the Constituent Assembly was still alive.
“Many lawmakers had not agreed on definition of organized crime so we decided to introduce ordinances that were less contentious,” Minister Pun said, without elaborating which clauses of the law had drawn criticisms.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-money laundering body, has asked Nepal to promulgate laws on extradition, mutual cooperation and control of organized crime since 2010. These laws, according to the FATF, would prevent Nepal from being blacklisted as a nation that does not have adequate legal tools to fight financial crimes like money laundering and terror financing.
In this regard, the parliament had initiated the task of introducing these laws prior to its dissolution on May 27. But the task could not be completed due to opposition by a faction of ruling Maoist party.
“Now we have endorsed the decision to bring two of these acts through ordinances, we hope the five-day FATF plenary meeting scheduled to begin on June 18 in Rome, will not blacklist us,” Minister Pun said.
In case the FATF meeting concludes introduction of two laws as inadequate, it would throw the country´s financial sector into disarray as leading international banks may refuse to conduct transactions on behalf of Nepal and foreign investors may either shy away from funneling funds into the country or pull their money out of the country.