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Oli's remarks on use of 'underground money' for development

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Press Trust of India Kathmandu
CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli, who is being projected by the Left Alliance as Nepal's next Prime Minister, has said 'underground money' should be allowed to come to the surface for the country's development, a remark which came under attack.

Talking to a delegation of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), Oli had said that one reason behind low investment in the landlocked Himalayan nation was the restriction on the use of 'underground' money.

Banks and financial institutions (BFIs) have been taking measures whereby individuals or entities using banking channels should disclose the source of their cash.

The CPN-UML had emerged as the single largest party in the recently concluded parliamentary polls.

The statement from the chief of the largest party comes in the wake of recent stringent measures by the government to the curb illicit flow of finances in line with the global fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

"The money that has remained underground should be allowed to come to the surface. Its legalisation would give the country abundant investment in industrial and business sectors, Oli is reported to have told the entrepreneurs' delegation.

"The government should tax such money and let them flow in the market. Otherwise, such money should just get channelled to the casino since there is no restriction on the money there," Oli argued.

The country needs such funds for investment, employment generation and for increasing production, he added.

"The statement that black money should be allowed to be laundered is against the country's anti-money laundering act," former Finance Secretary Rameshore Khanal said.

"There cannot be a property whose sources cannot be identified. The source of money can either be legitimate or illegitimate, and illegitimate money should be confiscated," added Khanal.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa termed Oli's statement that black money should be invested, as "bad omen for what would happen next".

Thapa said that believing that the CPN-UML will bring prosperity in the country is just day-dreaming.

CPN-UML leaders, however defended Oli's statement, saying they were against black money.

"We are against black money. However, to investigate and get to the roots of underground money for ascertaining whether it is legitimate or not, such cash should first come to the surface," remarked Pradeep Gyawali, CPN-UML secretary.

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 8:20 PM IST

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