Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The central bank of Bangladesh has issued a guideline to check terrorist financing using non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-profit organisations (NPOs), officials said.

Under the new provisions, the NGOs and NPOs will have to submit suspicious transaction report (STR) or suspicious activity report (SAR) to the central bank like the commercial banks and non-banking financial institutions, if required.

If any NGO/NPO or any person of NGO/NPO is involved with terrorism or financing in terrorism activities, organised crime; or is involved with corruption and bribery, fraud, forgery, or any other (predicate) offences, and the money or property earned from them is laundered or attempted to be laundered, such incidents should have to be reported in line with the existing rules and regulations.

“Any person, organisation, regulator or government agency can submit such STR/SAR to the general manager of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), Bangladesh Bank (BB) with specific information and supporting documents,” the central bank said in its guidelines, issued on Thursday.

When an NGO/NPO submits a STR/SAR to BFIU or where it is known that a customer or any transaction is under investigation of any authority, the NGO/NPO should not destroy any record related to the customer or transaction till conclusion of the case even if the five-year time limit is elapsed, it noted.

“The central bank has issued the guidelines in line with the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) 2012, Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 2009, and following the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering,” a BB senior official said.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body, whose job is to develop and promote policies, both national and international, to combat money laundering and check financing of terrorism.

The BB official also said the central bank maintains confidentiality of SRR or SAR, submitted by the reporting organisations, including the NGOs and NPOs. “The NGOs and NPOs will have to collect their clients’ information and preserve those for five years.”

The BB has asked the NGOs to maintain bank account in the name of the organisation with nearby scheduled bank branch to ensure their financial accountability.
He also said activities of foreign operations of the NGOs may become vulnerable, if they are not properly monitored.

“Such organisations will have Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) policies, approved by their board of directors or trustee or top policy-making committee for complying with the relevant laws, circulars and guidelines, issued by the BFIU to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing,” the central banker explained.

He also said each NGO or NPO will have to appoint a senior-level official as chief compliance officer for implementation of the existing rules and regulations, relating to AML and CFT.

BBN/SSR/AD-22Nov13-7:06 pm (BST)