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Money laundering law is not applied impartially

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08th-Jan-2018       
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MONEY laundering has become a common phenomenon in our national politics and economy at the moment when the country just stepped out from the high risk country list in money laundering and terror financing. Despite many suggestions made by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) to prevent money laundering and terror financing that encourages money laundering and capital flights combative measures remain stagnant.

A national daily reported that there is no progress in 31 out of 138 actions adopted in the national strategy for preventing money laundering and terror financing. We must say the government is still silent in preventing money laundering while capital flight and money laundering are almost negating   the national economic growth.

Inspite of prevailing inaction in general, Customs Intelligence last November filed a case against seven persons on charges of laundering about Tk 1,000 crore through the import of alcohol, cigarettes and various consumer goods using fake documents and addresses. Meanwhile, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) interrogated former chairman of AB Bank for his alleged involvement in laundering Tk 165 crore to the United Arab Emirates from the bank. The illegal capital flight surged 33.78 percent year basis on-year in 2013 --- more than six percent of the country's GDP and one-third of the export receipts in 2013. It is three times the size of average foreign aid Bangladesh received in recent times. Of the amount, $8.35 billion or over 86 percent was siphoned off through trade misinvoicing while the rest $1.31 billion could not be traced in the balance of payments data.

A former Central Bank governor said that illegal capital flight from the country was USD 9.66 billion in 2013 which was worthy of three Padma-Bridge Construction projects. While foreign investment remains low, and the country's banking sector became vulnerable in terms of cyber protection and internal governance, the money laundering by a section of politicians, bureaucrats, and businesses has been driving the country to economic failure. Despite prevailing strict Anti-Money Laundering Acts in the country, the ghosts inside banks, including Bangladesh Bank, and other perpetrators' nexus with the ruling-party have bent the rule of law and made law enforcers abstain from taking action.

In last August, Bangladesh went up 28 notches in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-terrorist financing index of the Basel Institute on Governance. The country came in at No. 82 out of 146 in the 2017 edition of the Basel AML Index, up from its previous spot of 54. The report said Bangladesh saw a big jump in its ranking due to the results of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation Report in October 2016.
The state of Bangladesh Economy is not positive in general, except the remittance inflows and RMG exports, due to weakness in all governmental institutions and a vacuous political situation which prevents laws from being impartial against offenders.


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