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Decision on Money Laundering Law Wednesday

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KABUL: Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi on Sunday ruled the lower house would take a decision on the proposed anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws on Wednesday.

On Wednesday last, some lawmakers said the anti-money laundering bill could not be approved within days and called for summoning the government officials, who delayed sending the measure to the assembly for three years.

The laws were presented before the house by the Ministry of Justice last month. The measures are aimed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Some Western countries have told Afghanistan its banks would be put on an international blacklist if it did not pass the anti-money laundering law.

Chinese banks have already halted dollar transactions with most Afghan banks without warning, making it difficult for businesses to pay for imports, according to the central bank chief, Noorullah Dilawari.

At today’s session, which was also attended by some government officials and civil society representative, Ibrahimi said despite the fact that sending the anti-money laundering law to the parliament had been delayed for three years, the house would try to approve it as soon as possible.

He said the committee of commission heads had decided to conclude its debate on the law within three days, including today, and present it before the general session on Wednesday.

Amir Khan Yar, who heads the house finance and budget commission, said the lower house would approve the law if it met the interest of Afghanistan and international standards.

He said the house panels would investigate all technical aspects of the law within three days before presenting it to the general session for approval.

Without going into details, Yar said: “Some amendments (in the draft law) are likely to come.”

Justice Ministry officials say if the law is approved at the earliest, it would help Afghanistan banks maintain their relations with foreign banks.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that sets standards on how countries combat money laundering, is due to decide at its meeting on June 22 on whether to blacklist Afghanistan.

Justice Ministry official Ashraf Khan Azimi, who attended today’s session, rejected the rumours that the ministry had removed some clauses from the bill, saying the law had been framed keeping in view international standards.

He asked the media to refrain from spreading negative propaganda about the proposed money laundering and terrorist financing laws.

Da Afghanistan Bank chief Dilawari told Pajhwok Afghan News he hoped the parliament would soon approve the laws and urged President Karzai to sign them without any delay.

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