The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and its stakeholders are working on an Anti Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill, which will be discussed during the 9th session of the second parliament 2017 as an urgent bill.
Its stakeholders are Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority (BNCA), Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), Office of Attorney General (OAG), Department of Law and Order (DLO) and Royal Bhutan Police (RBP).
“Drug trafficking is considered as the major source of money laundering in the world today. People generate billions from drug trafficking and there are Bhutanese involved in drug trade but due to precise drug related money laundering regulatory measures, people involved are not convicted,” BNCA director said.
“Chapter XI of Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substance and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act of Bhutan, 2015 states that the board may propose to the Royal Government such measures as establishing a Drug Intelligence Unit and establishing a legal mechanism to identify, trace, freeze, seize, confiscate or forfeit the proceeds of the crime and the board may also order RMA or Banks share information on fictitious and suspicious transaction of money to facilitate investigation of suspected drug related money laundering cases”, a BNCA official said.
He also said individuals involved in drug related money laundering were not convicted so far. While drug traffickers in other countries deal with hard drugs like Brown sugar, Heroin, etc from which they can generate huge amounts, Bhutanese traffickers mainly deal with pharmaceutical drugs which are not so expensive.
“Any individual in possession of huge amount of drugs should be inspected, his or her bank balance should be checked and asked about the sources of his money but banks don’t have the right to disclose their customer’s information as they have promised their customers’ not to confide their information under any circumstances,” he said. “So the proposed Act would be more firm and stringent which would vest the board with the authority to identify and trace money laundering cases.”
He also mentioned that BNCA has already started to train investigating officials from different stakeholders on how to trace money laundering cases and proceeds of crime generated out of drug trafficking.