Monday, December 30, 2013

Malaysians love for Hong Kong - money-laundering

Embassy-appointed firm engaged in 'shady deal'


Million dollar question: Why the firm wants to send up to Rs 70 millions raised from Malaysian visa-processing fee per month to Hong Kong
KATHMANDU: Why is a company appointed by the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu seeking to transfer millions of rupees to Hong Kong instead of Malaysia? That’s the question being asked by senior officials of Nepal Rastra Bank’s foreign exchange department.

Malaysia VLN Nepal, a company appointed by the Malaysian Embassy to conduct visa processing works, has

filed a request at the central bank seeking transfer of around Rs 30 million raised from visa-processing fee here to Hong Kong.

The request, according to senior NRB officials, was filed around a month ago. However, officials at NRB’s foreign exchange department have not been able to act on it so far, as the money is not being remitted to Malaysia. “If the company had wanted to send the money to Malaysia there wouldn’t have been a problem. But since the fund is being transferred to a company in Hong Kong, we couldn’t take a decision on our own,” a high-ranking NRB official told The Himalayan Times on condition of anonymity. “We have, thus, forwarded all the documents to the governor’s office.”

Malaysia VLN Nepal was registered in Nepal on September 10 as ‘Malesia VLN Nepal’ with an authorised capital of Rs 10 million and a paid-up capital of Rs 1 million, show records at the Company Registrar’s Office.

The Lalitpur-based private firm, solely owned by one Din Prasad Shrestha, was appointed by the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu to process documents filed by Nepalis seeking Malaysian visas. The company officially started working for the embassy from November 1.

Since the company started handling visa documents, Malaysian visa fee has jumped from Rs 700 to Rs 3,900 per person. Of the Rs 3,900 raised from each person, Rs 700 goes to the embassy as visa fee, while only Rs 150 is kept by the company as service charge. The rest of Rs 3,050 is held by the company apparently in the name of the Malaysian Embassy.

Considering around 800 Nepalis leave for Malaysia for employment purpose every day, the visa processing company generates additional Rs 2.44 million for the embassy per day, or over Rs 70 million per month.

“This money is Malaysian government’s money and we have no problem in availing foreign exchange facility for transfer of this fund to Malaysia,” the NRB official said. “But why is it being transferred to a company in Hong Kong? We really do not have any answer to this question. But if the government asks us to do so we will do it without asking any questions.”

NRB readily converts Nepali rupees into US dollars for fund transfer purpose for companies engaged in exports and imports of goods and services.

Charge d’affaires at the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu Fadli Adilah said he was unaware of the issue and asked The Himalayan Times to contact Second Secretary, Consular and Immigration Section, Shela Vengirasamy. Vengirasamy did not want to comment on the issue.

Passport handling fee!

KATHMANDU: Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu will soon outsource the management of passports of visa applicants, Charge d’affaires at the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu Fadli Adilah confirmed. Adilah told The Himalayan Times that the company would collect passports from applicants of Malaysian visa in Nepal and return them to the applicants after the process. He did not elaborate. It is being said the Malaysian Embassy would appoint a company named FOSA for this purpose. The company, according to manpower agents, will charge Rs 3,200 for handling of passports. If what manpower agents said turns out to be true, Malaysian visa fee for each Nepali will surge to Rs 7,100. — HNS
                                                                                           His hands everywhere.

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