The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the Multilevel Marketing Activities (control) Bill 2013 with a provision of 10 years’ imprisonment as the maximum punishment for running such business without any licence.
The approval was given at a regular meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The aim of the new law is to protect people from cheating by multilevel marketing companies (MLM) and bring such companies under a legal framework.
In the draft Multi-level Marketing (Control) Bill the highest fine was fixed at Tk 5 lakh for conducting multilevel businesses without any licence.
It also said it is mandatory for those who are operating such businesses to get a licence, or else, they would be sentenced to minimum six years of imprisonment.
The punishment would be doubled for further violation of the law, it says.
Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hussain Bhuiyan briefed reporters after the meeting.
He said the law would be promulgated through an ordinance as parliament is not in session.
The cabinet secretary said the law also has provisions that provide the government power to undertake operations against any MLM business firm.
The government would have the authority to appoint one or more administrators dismissing the management committee of a firm if any fraudulence is found and if it violates client’s rights.
The law also has the provisions of setting up of a company after obtaining licence from the appropriate authority for running an MLM company, the licence could not be transferred without prior permission of the government and the government can cancel it in case of violation of conditions.
The law also proposed maximum two years of imprisonment or Tk 5 lakh fine for transferring the licence without permission, and a provision of punishment is also there for violation of packaging rules, charging illogical price and supplying substandard goods.
The cabinet secretary said the punishment would be doubled in case of repetition of the offence.
Under the proposed law, both the organization and the person would be under the purview of the punishment, he added.
The cabinet also gave nod to the draft of the Information and Communication Technology (amendment) Ordinance 2013, keeping provision of minimum 7 years and maximum 14 years of imprisonment subject to the vetting of legislative wing of the Law Ministry.
The cabinet secretary said the offences under the law have been made cognizable and non-bailable.
The cabinet also directed the ICT Ministry to check out whether there is any necessity of further amendment to the draft law.
The Schedule of Specific Commitments of Bangladesh under the Saarc Agreement on Trade in Services was also approved by the cabinet.
The cabinet secretary said during the 16th Saarc summit the member countries agreed to take necessary steps to open their service sectors, especially the telecommunications and tourism sectors, for mutual benefits.
The cabinet also approved in principle the draft of the Financial Reporting Act, 2013 aimed at bringing the financial reporting under a regulatory body and making identical standard for reporting.
The law kept provisions of five years of imprisonment or Tk 1 lakh fine or both for violating the law as financial reporting is important to ensure economic governance. The law also proposed making the auditors accountable along with their organizations.
Under the proposed law, the government would constitute a council of financial experts with the governor of Bangladesh Bank as its head, he said.
Besides, experts from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh and representative from NBR, among others, will be included in the council.
Cabinet ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister and state ministers concerned attended the meeting. The cabinet secretary and secretaries concerned were also present.
Law in offing to control illegal MLM business