The National Board of Revenue is facing legal complexity in determining the investigating authority for the money laundering cases after transferring the power to its Central Intelligence Cell.
In June, the revenue board in an order instructed its field offices of customs, value-added tax and income tax to transfer the money laundering cases to the CIC saying that the cell would investigate the cases as the investigating authority.
Earlier in October 2016, the revenue board had empowered the CIC for conducting inquiry and investigation into money laundering issues related to taxes as investigating agency.
The complexity arose as the Money Laundering Prevention Act-2015 did not empower any organisation to transfer the investigation authority to someone except those fixed by the law.
According to the act, customs, value-added tax and income tax wings of the NBR would investigate the money laundering cases having involvement of customs duties, VAT and income tax respectively.
Till now, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) of the revenue board has been playing the major role in investigation of money laundering cases, mostly trade-based money laundering.
The customs intelligence has already detected some incidences of money laundering and filed cases against those involved with the offence.
According to the NBR estimate, more than 80 per cent incidences of money laundering occur in disguise of international trade or export and import.
Officials said that the CIID had been opposing the decision of withdrawing the power from it and appointing the CIC as investigating agency saying that the decision was not consistent with the money laundering act.
They said that the revenue board also understood the complexity and decided to review the decision.
In its last board meeting held on July 24, the revenue board formed a high-powered committee to end the complexity of determination of investigating agency in line with the money laundering act, they said.
The committee headed by NBR member (board administration) SM Ashfaque Hussain will review the previous decision and relevant issues in line with the law and prepare a proposal for the next board meeting.
A high official of the NBR said that the committee had already held several meetings and discussed about the problem.
Hopefully, the complexity will be removed soon as the investigation process of ongoing money laundering cases is delayed due to the problem, he said.
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