Kathmandu – Transparency International (TI) Nepal has once again drawn the attention of the Parliament to the amendment bill related to the Commission for Investigation of Asset Laundering, Prevention of Corruption and Abuse of Authority presented by the government in the Parliament.
It is stated in a statement issued today by the President of TI Nepal, Padmini Pradhanang that the government’s attention has been drawn to the fact that if the bill is passed as it is, corruption, illegal wealth management, impunity and misrule can make the country fail. In the ‘Bill made to amend some laws related to prevention of money laundering and promotion of business environment’, the main objective of the ‘Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2064’ is prevention of money laundering.
He said that he has drawn the attention of the MPs and the Parliament to warn that the proposed amendment bill should not open a way to automatically legitimize the property, i.e. automatically legitimize illegally acquired wealth, if tax is paid on undisclosed assets, which would be counterproductive to the original intent and purpose of the Act. As Nepal is a party to the International Convention against Corruption, it is mentioned in the statement that opening the way to legitimize illegally acquired money under any pretext is against the said convention.
The statement said that since the court has established the precedent of placing money laundering as a co-product of the original crime and the act of concealing the original crime to make the acquired property appear legitimate, ignoring it will be counterproductive to the concept of the rule of law.
TI Nepal has demanded that a clear provision should be made in the amendment bill related to the Prevention of Corruption and Abuse of Authority Investigation Commission that the decision of any level or body aimed at the vested interest of a particular individual or group does not fall within the definition of ‘policy decision’.
With the provision of five years from the date of discovery, not only big corruption cases that have been kept under wraps due to political pressure, but also high-level corruption cases that have come to the public’s knowledge for years but have not been prosecuted, will be freed from the scope of investigation. Chairman Pradhanang said that he will become a Jaskelo who gives immunity.
As Nepal is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and it has clearly mentioned that corruption in the private sector should be brought under the legal framework of both the parties who receive and give bribes, TI Nepal emphasizes that there should be clear legal provisions and attention should be paid to making the regulatory bodies more efficient.
It is mentioned in the statement that TI Nepal has once again drawn the attention of the Parliament so that the amendment bill should not create more loopholes to give immunity to such corrupt people, as the big corrupt people are enjoying impunity in Nepal despite the existence of various agencies and various legal provisions for corruption control.