The Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) from now on will investigate tax-related money laundering cases as per provision of the Money Laundering Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2015.
The NBR, in a recent special board meeting held on October 2, took the decision to empower the CIC as 'investigating agency' under the provision of the law.
The Board has issued an order to the cell to start working formally on the matter.
The CIC investigates income tax, customs and VAT related tax evasion cases. A group of officials drawn from three wings of the NBR is working in the cell.
The NBR, for the first time in 2015, got the authority to investigate money laundering offences where revenue in involved.
The amended Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2015 incorporated the provision to empower NBR as many of the money laundering cases involve large amount of tax revenue.
The CIC will be able to file cases against the person involved in money laundering. Earlier, taxmen used to send the matters to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigating and filing cases if they suspected any money laundering offences.
Earlier, the ACC was the sole authority to look after the issues.
Investigating money laundering cases by field-level tax offices may make the procedure complex, a NBR official, however, said.
"Field-level tax officials remain busy in regular tax assessment and other valuation-related tasks. Imposing the responsibility to investigate money laundering cases will increase their workload," he said.
Another NBR official said the CIC's investigation will mainly focus on income tax-related cases as Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate are currently conducting investigation into customs matters as per latest provision of the customs law incorporated in the current fiscal year.
The customs intelligence wing is carrying out investigation of suspected business entities for their involvement in trade-based money laundering through exports and imports.
In June last, the directorate lodged the first money laundering case against owner of SN Design Limited Shahidul Islam over his alleged involvement in laundering of around Tk 1.0 billion.
A latest report, published on December, of Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research organisation on illegal financial flows said some US$ 55.87 billion was laundered from Bangladesh from 2004 to 2013.
Of the amount, under-invoicing and over-invoicing in imports and exports account for US$ 49.13 billion or 88 per cent of the amount that was siphoned off by traders, it said.