Amid possibility of Nepal being taken off the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) watch list, Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala on Monday tabled the amended Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance in the parliament.
“Nepal’s delisting from the watch list depends on the endorsement of the ordinance as the FATF has been concerned whether theordinance will take the form of an Act,” said Tek Prasad Dhungana, joint secretary at the Ministry of Law
and Justice. “That’s why the ordinance has been given top priority.”
The anti-money laundering ordinance has provisioned enhanced due diligence of politically exposed persons (officials above the secretary level). It attempts to bring transparency in electronic transactions as per the new FATF recommendations made in 2012.
A team from the FATF, a global anti-money laundering body, which recently visited Nepal to hold a field study on the country’s progress in anti-money laundering measures, had sought confirmation that the ordinance would be converted into an Act as soon as the parliamentary session begins.
“The government’s priority to table the ordinance in the first session of the parliament is an important step,” said Dhungana, adding Law Minister Hari Prasad Neupane is scheduled to table theordinance on Mutual Legal Assistance on Tuesday.
Procedures of Crime Ordinance and Extradition Treaty Ordinance have already been registered at the parliamentary secretariat. “We have to get all these ordinance s endorsed by the parliament and convert them into Acts through a replacement bill,” said Dhungana.
The government has been communicating about the start of parliamentary session and the tabling of the ordinance at the parliament to the FATF.
As per the interim constitution, an ordinance has to be converted into an Act through a replacement bill within 60 days after the parliamentary session begins. However, because of the delay in the beginning of the parliamentary session, the
country is less likely to see the conversion of the ordinance into an Act before the new FATF plenary begins in Paris, France, from February 9-14.
“As FATF is a technical body, it wants result,” said Maha Prasad Adhikari, deputy governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). “Unfortunately, we are unlikely to pass the ordinance s as Acts at the moment.”
Adhikari said the visiting FATF team had asked Nepal to convert the ordinance s into Acts. “Given the FATF team satisfied with Nepal’s progress in all other aspects, there is a possibility of Nepal being taken off the watch list at the upcoming FATF meeting,” he said.
Source – Kantipur