Wednesday, February 13, 2013

President likely to approve ordinance on Organised Crime on Thursday

The President is most likely to approve Ordinance on Organised Crime tomorrow to save the country falling from grace.
"The President is serious on saving the country from being black listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and fulfill the country's long due commitment to the international community in fighting the flow of dirty money," according to a Presidential Office, Shital Niwas source.
Finance Minister Barshaman Pun, after meeting the President today also said that the President has promised not to put country in any disgrace.
Though, the country had committed the FATF that it will approve the three key UN conventions to by 2010 December, the country has been repeatedly failing to fulfill the commitment.
Earlier, the Bills — Mutual Legal Assistance Bill, Extradition Bill and Bill on Organised Crime — could not be passed through the parliament due to intra-part rift in the UCPN-Maoits. But after the Constituent Assembly that also acted as parliament 'died' on May 27, 2012, the President approved two ordinances -- Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill -- last July to save the country from being blacklisted.
However, the country is yet to approve one key Bill Against Organised Crime before the FATF plenary and working group meetings scheduled to be held in Paris, France, on February 18-22 that will take the decision on whether to send the country to high risk zone or not.
"The country needs to approve the Ordinance on Organised Crime by February 16 to save the country from black listing, according to a source at the central bank. "If Nepal could not approve the ordinance by February 16, a team of high ranking officials from central bank, Finance Ministry and Ministry of Law will have to go to Paris to defend the country, he added.  
The county's listing as a high risk zone will not only send a negative message in the international community but international banks and financial institutions will also hesitate to deal with domestic banks and financial institutions that will hurt the country's international trade. Likewise the development partners will also shy away from assisting Nepal.
FATF — the global anti-money laundering watchdog in fighting money laundering — during its regional face-to-face meeting of Asia/Pacific Group (APG) in Hong Kong on January 17 has also showed serious concern on Nepal's delay in approving Ordinance on Organised Crime.
The intra-party rift in the ruling UCPN-Maoist party has delayed approval of the Bill against Organised Crime in the parliament as they feared it could backfire to the party leaders, who have amassed huge property without any regular source of income.
Likewise, some members of the ruling government were also opposed to ordinance on Organised Crime as they have been blamed to be sheltering the dons, who are under investigation by Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police and Department of Anti-Money Laundering Investigation. Such criminals are listed as
politically exposed persons (PEPs) under FATF globally.

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