HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Department of Money Laundering Investigation has failed to make its presence felt as it has been able to initiate action against only eight cases within a year of its establishment, according to a source at the Finance Ministry.
The department has initiated action against those who are not politically protected, he said, adding that the direct intervention of the government is another key reason for the weak performance of the department.
“The government changed three director generals within a year of the department’s establishment,” he added. “It is a clear sign that the government does not want the department to be assertive.”
A total of 11 cases have been filed at the Special Court so far under money laundering laws, according to director at the department Bishwa Prakash Subedi. “Of the total cases, three were filed by Department of Revenue Investigation before the Department of Money Laundering Investigation was formally separated from the Department of Revenue Investigation on June 15 last year.
The Special Court has a given final verdict on five cases so far, according to Subedi. The department collected Rs 75.49 million from those five cases, he said, adding that the department has claimed a fine of Rs 260 million from the remaining six cases.
The case that was filed against Niranjan Hojai at the Special Court last February claiming a fine of Rs 14.38 million is the largest case filed by the department in terms of volume of money.
The 11 cases that were filed at the court were among the 63 cases which the department has been undertaking, Subedi informed.
The department cannot perform its job effectively unless the political bodies allow it to work independently, claimed the source at the Finance Ministry.
“The department is facing problems while investigating cases related to the real estate business, land transactions, misuse of ATM cards and illegal possession of Nepali currency,” he said, adding the Maoist-led government will not let the department investigate those cases since it is largely believed that Maoist cadres are involved in those businesses.
He also blamed the government for protecting dons who have been creating terror in the society. The government has not given a green signal to nab the most notorious dons though the Department of Money Laundering Investigation has already prepared a crime list of such dons, he further said.