Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Government preparing ordinance on Organised Crime

The government is preparing an ordinance on Organised Crime, according to the home minister.
Speaking to journalists in Biratnagar, today, home minister Bijay Gachhcchadar said that the ordinance will be sent to the President after it is approved by the political parties. However, according to the sources, the ordinance has already been sent to the President. 
"The government is committed to curbing criminal activities," he said, adding that the recent increase in kidnapping and murder cases will decrease after the President approves the ordinance on Organised Crime.
Though the home minister claimed that the ordinance will help reduce organised crime, it has till date not been able to curb organised crime nor help bring back confidence in the business community that has been demoralised due to the politicisation of criminal activities by the incumbent government. It will, however, fulfill the country's international commitment in the fight against money laundering.
Nepal had promised the international community that it would approve the three key UN conventions — by bringing Mutual Legal Assistance Bill, Extradition Bill and Bill against Organised Crime — to join hands in the fight against money laundering. But the country has repeatedly failed to fulfill its commitment due to various reasons.
Though the incumbent government has brought the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill through ordinance in the absence of a parliament to escape being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the government led by UCPN-Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai is not keen on bringing the ordinance on Organised Crime as it could backfire on his own party which has amassed huge amounts of wealth through illegal means.
The Asia Pacific Group under the FATF on January 14-18 had also shown serious concern about Nepal's delay in approving the Bill against Organised Crime during the face-to-face meeting in Hong Kong.
The report of the meeting will be presented before the meeting of FATF plenary — global standard setter for anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism — on February 18-22 in Paris, which will decide Nepal's fate.
The country must bring an ordinance on Organised Crime in the next two weeks to escape being blacklisted by FATF, that will not only hurt the country's international image but also bar Nepali financial institutions to trade with international banks and financial institutions.
Earlier, the FATF — an inter-governmental body consisting of 36 member-jurisdictions and a number of observers — had kept Nepal in the grey list due to its failure in fulfilling the commitment.

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