4:11 pm - Sunday January 23, 0653

Tough law against money laundering

The cabinet has given final approval to the draft of ‘The Money Laundering Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2015’ bringing necessary change in the existing law of 2012 aimed at making the law more effective and fruitful.

The approval was given at the regular meeting of the cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, reports BSS.

gov1Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the cabinet has also given final approval to a proposal for amending the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act in light of the new Money Laundering Prevention Act.

The cabinet secretary said ‘The Money Laundering Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2015’ is more specified about the authority who would investigate the offenses or allegations relating to money laundering.

After the amendment, he said the ACC would investigate the money laundering offenses/allegations relating to corruption and bribe only while agencies concerned like police, customs and narcotics department would investigate other predicated offenses.

Secondly, the amendment has incorporated the provision of joint investigation by different agencies and strengthening the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the central bank for investigation into the offenses relating to money laundering.

Thirdly, the amendment proposed for four to 12 years imprisonment and fine of Taka 20 lakh or at least double of the laundering amount or assets, which is higher, the cabinet secretary said.

According to the amendment, the BFIU would be a body under the central bank with operational autonomy. The head of the unit would be appointed by the government for four years and would be picked up through a search committee. He/she would have the rank and status of a deputy governor of the central bank.

The manpower of the unit would be a composite body comprised of the officers and employees of the central bank and skilled and experts of other agencies outside the central bank. The BIFU would report the National Coordination Committee on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terror Financing headed by Finance Minister through the central bank governor.

Musharraf Hossain said according to the amendment of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act, the corruption watchdog would investigate only the offenses of money laundering related to corruption and bribe. Other agencies would deal with the offenses/ allegations of money laundering which are not related to corruption or bribe, he said.