BFIU gets 3 months to sign legal pacts with 10 countries to bring back black money
The High Court has given Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) three months to sign mutual legal assistance (MLA) pacts with 10 countries for obtaining information and proof required to recover black money stashed abroad. An HC bench of justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Khijir Hayat passed the order on Wednesday (October 26, 2022). Deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin Manik appeared for BFIU, while advocate Khurshid Alam Khan represented the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Read: HC orders BFIU to form research cell to bring back laundered money In a report submitted to the court on Tuesday, BFIU said that they had advised the Financial Institutions Division (FID) to sign MLA agreements with at least 10 countries to get necessary help in bringing back laundered money from abroad. These countries are the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Thailand and Hong Kong (China). The report also said that "BFIU has asked Bangladesh Bank (BB) to recruit manpower for the proposed ‘Research Cell’ which will help in identifying money launderers and recovering the money." Read Black money whitening got little response in FY 22: NBR data According to the report, the recruitment process is currently ongoing. The report added that the sixth meeting of the taskforce, led by the attorney general and formed to recover laundered money, took place on January 3, 2022. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Home Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, FID, ACC, BFIU and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police. Read Finance bill 2022 passed with limits on proposal to whiten black money It was decided at the meeting that urgent steps needed to be taken to identify the launderers and bring back black money stashed in foreign banks. The High Court on August 31 ordered the head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit to form a research cell to prevent money laundering, bring back laundered money, monitor and control it. Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit head Md Masud Biswas was also directed to submit a progress report regarding the formation of Research Cell by the next hearing set to be held on October 26. On August 10, the Swiss ambassador in Dhaka Nathalie Chuard said that they have been providing the Bangladesh government with all information regarding deposits of Bangladeshi money in Swiss banks, "but no request has been submitted regarding any particular account". On August 11, the High Court bench ordered the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission to explain why the government did not seek information of deposits of Bangladesh money stashed in Swiss banks. On August 14, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit was asked to submit a report in this regard in the affidavit form. On August 21, following the High Court order, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit's report was submitted stating that the information regarding deposits of 67 Bangladeshis in various Swiss banks was sought from the authorities concerned in Bern.
HC summons BFIU chief over 'incomplete report' on black money in Swiss banks
The High Court has summoned the head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) to explain an "incomplete report" filed in compliance with the Swiss envoy’s comment on black money stashed in Swiss banks. A bench of justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Khizir Hayat passed the order on Tuesday, asking Md Masud Biswas to appear before it on Wednesday and explain the report -- filed in an affidavit form -- that contains no name, address or position of the person who submitted the same. Submitting such a report is like taking an action but without any responsibility, the court observed during the hearing. Deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin represented the state while advocate Khurshid Alam Khan appeared for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) during the hearing. Khurshid said the report submitted by BFIU was not appropriate as it does not mention who submitted it and also doesn't contain any signature. "The HC was disappointed with the report," he said. On August 10, the Swiss ambassador in Dhaka Nathalie Chuard said that they have been providing the Bangladesh government with all information regarding deposits of Bangladeshi money in Swiss banks, "but no request has been submitted regarding any particular account". Read:Bangladesh money in Swiss Banks: Swiss envoy’s comment is embarrassing: HC On August 11, the HC bench ordered the government and the ACC to explain why the government didn’t seek information of deposits of Bangladesh money stashed in Swiss banks. On August 14, BFIU was asked to submit a report in this regard in the affidavit form. On August 21, following the HC order, BFIU’s report was submitted stating that the information regarding deposits of 67 Bangladeshis in various Swiss banks was sought from the authorities concerned in Bern. But the Swiss authorities only provided the details of one individual in this regard which BFIU also submitted to the ACC, BFIU said in its report. According to the report, the Swiss bank published its annual report on June 16 this year. On the following day, the Swiss authorities were requested to provide necessary information about the money deposited by Bangladeshi banks and individuals in various Swiss banks through Egmont Secure Web (ESW). However, Bangladesh has not yet received any information. BFIU even asked FIEU for this information on June 17 last, it added.
Black money whitening got little response in FY 22: NBR data
The number of black money holders paying taxes under an amnesty decreased by 80.83 per cent to 2300 in the FY2021-22 down from12000 in the previous fiscal year, according to latest NBR data available on Monday In the last financial year, there was an opportunity to whiten all kinds of black money by combining the stock market, land-flat purchases, and the money kept in the bank. But at the end of the year, it was found that despite the opportunity, only 2,300 taxpayers came forward. Also read: Whitening black money: Stock exchanges ask NBR to continue it in stock market The poor response is attributed to higher tax rates imposed last year. In the FY21, the tax rate was only 10 per cent compared to 25 per cent in the FY 22. Besides 5 per cent penalty on that tax had to be paid to whiten black money. As a result, the total tax rate stood at 26.25 per cent. Also read: NBR dreams to cross revenue Tk3.0 lakh crore in FY 22 A top official of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) said that the response was low due to this. Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), told UNB that giving such an opportunity is unethical, discriminatory and against the constitution. It proved that little was gained from such opportunities given at the expense of morality, he said. Such opportunities provide protection only to the corrupt and encourage corruption, said the TIB chief. Read Finance bill 2022 passed with limits on proposal to whiten black money
Finance bill 2022 passed with limits on proposal to whiten black money
The parliament has passed the finance bill 2022 with a surprise late change to the proposal on repatriation of money laundered abroad. The opportunity in the proposed budget to bring back both movable and immovable assets has been cancelled through an amendment on the Finance Bill-2022 by the members of parliament. Speaker of Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury chaired the session, and Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal brought these amendments to the proposed budget. Later the parliament passed the bill by voice vote. The finance minister accepted 17 amendment proposals on the finance bill at section 2-ka and 2-kha. The other amendment proposals were cancelled by voice vote. “Among the amendments brought in the proposed budget is that only smuggled cash can be brought into the country with 7 percent tax. Those who do not take this opportunity will be fined. The amount of the fine will be equal to the prescribed tax,” Kamal said in the parliament. READ: Parliament passes Finance Bill, allows whitening of undisclosed money The opportunity in the proposed budget to bring in movable and immovable assets has been cancelled. At the same time, amendments have been made to get corporate tax benefits at a lower rate. Companies that transact more than Tk36 lakh a year through banks will get the benefit of paying corporate tax at a lower rate. In the proposed budget this limit was Tk12 lakh. In addition, the obligation to file returns by adding e-TIN (Taxpayer's Identification Number) for all the services has also been waived. The return filing has been made mandatory only for individual taxpayers. Along with the finance bill 2-22, the parliament has also passed the national budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 of Tk678,064 crore, which was placed in the parliament on June 9. Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presented the budget titled “Return to the Path of Development; Leaving the Covid-19 Behind”. This is the fourth budget of the third consecutive term of the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and also the overall 51st budget of the country. The budget kept the GDP growth target of 7.5 percent and the GDP size estimated at Tk44.50 lakh crore. The revenue target is set at Tk4.33 lakh crore, while the budget deficit is Tk2.42 lakh crore or 5.4 per cent of GDP. The average inflation in the budget was kept at 5.6 percent.
Whitening black money: Stock exchanges ask NBR to continue it in stock market
The country’s stock exchanges and merchant bankers want the National Board of Revenue to continue with the provision of whitening black money by investing in stock market with 5 per cent penalty in the upcoming budget for FY22-23. This concession should be allowed without any question, said the members of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) and Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA) in their pre-budget discussion with NBR officials here on Tuesday. They said that if this opportunity is continued, the capital market will be strengthened and the revenue of the government will increase. Besides, money laundering from the country will also be decreased if the opportunity continues. Taxpaying professionals will be able to invest their legally earned undisclosed money in the capital market, they said. “I think this will reduce the risk of money laundering as the government's revenue increases,” said an official of DSE. READ: Restaurant owners want reduction in VAT & NBR’s one-stop service In order to further expand the capital market, it has also been proposed to reduce the corporate tax rate difference between listed and non-listed companies to at least 10 per cent and to give tax exemption to encourage SME companies to enter the capital market. At present, the corporate tax rate of listed companies is 22.5 per cent while for non-listed companies is 30 per cent. READ: Even government entities press NBR for tax exemption: NBR Chairman However, tax rates for banks, insurance, financial institutions, telecom and tobacco companies are specifically fixed out of these rates.
No Whitening of Black Money: TIB cautious in welcoming govt’s 'realisation'
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), the corruption watchdog, has cautiously welcomed the government's decision to discard the provision of whitening black money in the proposed budget for the next fiscal (2021-22). Besides, the TIB is also drawing attention to the fact that this discriminatory and unconstitutional benefit should not be included in any other way out of respect to the honest taxpayers. Also read: Provision for black money whitening to continue: Finance Minister The TIB has expressed concern over the lack of a clear roadmap to ensure transparency and prevention of corruption in the overall budget implementation, not just the increase in allocations to critical sectors such as the health sector to control Covid. TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman in a statement on Thursday night said despite strong objections and protests from all quarters, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal allowed whitening black money in the outgoing budget. Also read: Black money: CPD for breaking vicious circle of illicit income “The decision of the finance minister not to renew the whitening of black money in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year can be taken as a realization of the government," he said. The TIB Executive Director said they want to believe that the authorities will not continue this unethical benefit under the pressure of vested interests again in future, while respecting the Prime Minister's dictum of 'zero tolerance against corruption'.
Black money: CPD for breaking vicious circle of illicit income
Speakers at a webinar on Tuesday said only providing chance to whiten black money will not benefit the country’s economy unless the vicious circle of illicit income is broken.
How Covid has caused a dent in Bangladesh's coffers
The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown have caused a major dent in the coffers of the Bangladesh government, with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) witnessing a negative growth of 4% in revenue collections in the last fiscal.
File report on money launderers by Feb 28: HC
The High Court on Thursday ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the government to file a report by Feb 28 next year on money launderers and steps taken against them.
HC calls money launderers ‘enemies of state’, seeks info on them
The High Court on Sunday sought information on money launderers it termed as “national traitors” and “enemies of the state” who should be brought to book.