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5 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Foreign firm to track money laundering

NBR signs MoU with BFIU
Staff Reporter

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to appoint an international accounting firm to dig out information about money laundered from the country, said NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. “We are considering signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the firm so that it could collect information related to money laundering,” Bhuiyan said at a MoU signing with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank yesterday to exchange information and enhance cooperation on money laundering and terror financing.

The NBR chairman, however, declined to disclose the name of the firm before signing the MoU. The firm has experiences in working in the field in other countries and also has a presence in Bangladesh, he said. Replying to a question on the Global Financial Integrity’s figure of capital flight from the country, Bhuiyan said that the amount was not always authentic.

Different government agencies including the Anti-Corruption Commission, NBR and BFIU were working to detect and bring back money illicitly drained out from the country, he said, adding that the firm may also find out more information.

In a report last year, Washington-based GFI had estimated that around USD 61.6 billion was drained out from Bangladesh during 2005-2014.

The Money Laundering Prevention (amendment) Act-2015 empowered the revenue board to investigate into money laundering issues related to taxes.

In the situation, the NBR signed the MoU with the BFIU on information sharing to prevent illicit financial outflows and terror financing as the central bank agency has cooperation pacts with financial intelligence agencies of 56 countries.

BFIU has also taken the initiative to sign such agreements with some other local agencies, including the ACC and the police, to boost cooperation in the field.

Bangladesh Bank executive director, who is also the deputy head of BFIU, Mijanur Rahman Joddar and NBR member (board administration) SM Ashfaq Hussain signed the agreement on behalf of the respective sides. BB deputy governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, who is also head of BFIU, NBR members and other senior officials were present at the programme.

According to the MoU, the director general of the NBR’s central intelligence cell and a general manager of the BFIU will act as focal point officers and there will be some primary contact persons to work on the issue.

The NBR chairman said the revenue board would share information on money laundering that it got from any source with the BFIU so that it can prevent outflows of foreign currency from the country.

On the other hand, BFIU will share related information, particularly on trade-based money laundering, that it will get from local or global sources with the NBR to prevent the effort by unscrupulous people.

The MoU will work as a deterrent to money laundering as unscrupulous people will refrain from such activities in fear of being caught by intelligence agencies, he said.

Razee Hassan said the agreement would make the country compliant with the condition of global agencies, such as the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering, on having an effective mechanism to prevent illicit financial flows.

He also said that the ACC was currently dealing with 32 cases related to such offences and the agency was even successful in bringing back laundered money in one case.

Regarding the figure of capital flight from the country disclosed by different global agencies, Razee Hasan said that BFIU has found that only 7 per cent of the total deposits in Swiss banks have been transferred through personal accounts, while the rest of the deposits have been made through regular banking channels.

“But it was interpreted that the total amount revealed by the Swiss bank was money laundered from the country. So, we don’t take the figure as it is. But we always remain vigilant,” he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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