MPs fail to approve anti-money laundering law

 
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga or lower house of the parliament on Saturday failed to deliver a decision on the much-delayed anti-money laundering law due to incomplete quorum.
The Justice Ministry presented before the lower house two draft laws aimed at preventing 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.
Presenting the draft law, Acting Justice Minister Mohammad Yusuf Halim had urged lawmakers to pass the measure as soon as possible to show the international community that Afghanistan was committed to honouring its pledges.
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.
The task force has previously told Afghanistan to pass laws meeting global standards against money laundering and terrorist financing or face the blacklist.
The law having 10 chapters and 70 articles was on Saturday tabled at the lower house after being discussed for three days last week by the house commissions.
Amir Khan Yar, who heads the budget and finance commission, told the house that all the panels had discussed the draft law and they found nothing controversial.
A lawmaker from Kabul Shukria Barakzai also said the law had no clause that could create problems for the people of Afghanistan.
She said the measure should approved as soon as possible in order Afghanistan banks could strengthen their trust among international partners.
Her colleague from northeastern Badakhshan province Fauzia Kofi, however, said like previous laws, the anti-money laundering law had also been not properly discussed by the house panels.
She said the draft laws had problems because some provisions resembled a repetition of other laws. She said money used for daily costs had been excluded from black money under the proposed law.
The lawmaker suggested the law should be approved ahead of the international deadline, which she said was only two weeks away and problems in it should be removed later.
But Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the house could not take a decision on the law because the quorum was incomplete. He said the house would determine the fate of the law on Monday.
Wolesi Jirga secretary Syed Ikram said most lawmakers were busy campaigning for their respective presidential candidates and thus not appearing in the house.
He urged presidential candidates to send lawmakers campaigning for them to the parliament so that the assembly could overcome the problem of quorum and do legislation.
The Constitution holds the Wolesi Jirga shall approve a law within a month’s time and send the measure to the upper house for confirmation before the president signs it into law.
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