President Dr Ram Baran Yadav likely to approve three ordinances relating to anti-money laundering but have reservations

KATHMANDU, June 14: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and his office have made up their mind to approve three ordinances relating to anti-money laundering but have reservations about endorsing other ordinances without a political consensus. The government and the opposition parties continue to be at odds over the ordinances.

A knowledgeable source at the president´s office told that the president feels the urgency of endorsing the anti-money laundering ordinances — Extradition Ordinance, Mutual Cooperation Ordinance and the Ordinance to Control of Organized Crime– to prevent the country from being blacklisting when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-money laundering body, meets in Rome from June 18.

“The president is going to keep encouraging parties until June 18 to reach consensus on the issue of ordinances. But he is going to endorse the ordinances related to anti-money laundering even if there is no consensus because these ordinances are related to the image of the country,” said the source on condition of anonymity.

If Nepal fails to enact these laws by June 22 at the latest, chances of Nepal being blacklisted by the global anti-money laundering body are high.

If Nepal misses the June 18 date, it will have far-reaching ramifications for its overseas trade and on foreign aid to Nepal. While the international community would instantly stop honoring letters of credit and payments issued by Nepali traders, donors might also stop issuing aid and foreign investments, according to officials.
Similarly, foreign investors might pull out their investments if the laws are not enacted.

The prime minister has already handed over the draft of the ordinances to the president and the president´s office is studying them, according to another source at Shital Niwas.

However, the source also said the president will have reservations over endorsing other ordinances such as the budget ordinance if the government and the opposition parties do not forge a consensus.

“As of now, the president has stressed political consensus over any ordinance related to the budget for the next fiscal year,” said the source. “If there is no consensus, the president may not approve the ordinance.”

The government and the opposition are at loggerheads over promulgation of ordinances in the absence of an elected parliament. While the government has argued that issuing ordinances is its constitutional prerogative in the absence of parliament, an alliance of 26 opposition parties have opposed any move to run the country through ordinance and have asked the president not to approve any ordinance forwarded by the caretaker government.

Article 88 of the Interim Constitution gives the president the power to promulgate any ordinance on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers if parliament is in recess and he is satisfied that the ordinance is necessary.

Such an ordinance will have the same force and effect as an act of parliament but the ordinance needs to be endorsed by a meeting of parliament convened after the promulgation. If parliament fails to endorse it, the ordinance will become ineffective within 60 days from the first meeting of the parliament. by KIRAN CHAPAGAIN from republica

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