Nepal Foreign Trade Association today suggested the Department of Money Laundering Investigation to investigate the income earned through criminal activities, human, drugs and arms trafficking, and kidnapping only.
"Since there was a provision not to keep old records of paid taxes after six months, it will be impractical for the department to investigate on the source of income of entrepreneurs," said president of the association Ashok Kumar Agrawal.
Entrepreneurs have not kept old records of their businesses as the law of the land had also not asked for it, he said, asking the director general of the department Surya Prasad Acharya that the current investigation of entrepreneurs will not help create an investment friendly environment. "Investors will be terrified if they are asked to produce proof of their income now."
Earlier, the Income Tax Act 2031 BS and 2058 BS had asked businesses to keep records of up to six months only, and the current capital gain tax was also not levied by the government during land, house and share transactions, Agrawal added. "Likewise, successive governments had also brought the self declaration of tax and exempted taxes of five, seven and 10 years, which has to be considered while investigating money laundering issues."
If the department starts a blanket investigation against money laundering, entrepreneurs will be harassed, which will have a negative impact on the economy, the association said, urging the government to let everyone declare their property once and start investigations of the income that has no source.
However, Acharya said that the government cannot bring the self declaration of property provision again as it will be illegal. "The government has brought the Anti Money Laundering Act not to harass entrepreneurs, but to take action against criminals who have no fixed source of income but have accumulated huge wealth," he said, adding that the department is positive towards those who have businesses and regular income source.
Entrepreneurs have to put themselves in the government's shoe and we will also try to put ourselves in theirs to find an amicable solution, he said.
Though the department has prepared many cases against criminals, regular changes of the chiefs in the department have slowed down the process of initiating action against money launderers. Since its establishment around two years back, the department has seen four director generals also due to cases that are against dons who are close to the ruling parties.