The federal government has issued the 'Offence-related Assets and Goods (Withholding, Control and Confiscation) Regulation-2021' to deal with goods and assets earned from or related to offence.

As per the regulation published in the Nepal Gazette last week, the investigation officer may interrogate the concerned persons or carry out raids in suspicious places if he/ she has reasonable ground to believe that assets and goods possessed from criminal offence are concealed somewhere.

The investigation officer may be from Nepal Police or constitutional bodies.

"If any goods or assets are found during investigation, raid and search, the investigation officer shall confirm whether they are related to offence or not based on the records maintained in government agencies and the source of income of the concerned person," the regulation says.

If it is confirmed that the goods or assets are obtained by committing an offence, the investigation officer will have to initiate the process of withholding or taking control of them so that they cannot be transferred to anyone.

The investigation office is required to carry out valuation of such goods or assets based on their preset condition and maintain records thereof according to the existing law.

"The investigation officer may seek the help of any government agency, local level or person for valuation of the goods or assets as per necessity," the regulation reads. The details of goods or assets withheld or controlled by the investigation officer shall be sent to the concerned district administration office.

The DAO may auction such goods or assets withheld, controlled and finally confiscated in accordance with the law.

"Any person wishing to buy goods or assets through auction shall deposit 20 per cent of their total valuation in the bank account prescribed by the DAO for further processing," it says. The government may also bring them into use for other purposes sans auctioning them, as per requirement. If the goods or assets are not usable and auctionable, they may be destroyed.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.