Lower House takes up proposals to anti-money laundering bill

Among provisions debated was wording that would require lawyers to provide evidence against their clients

lower house
Members of the Lower House are seen under the Dome. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Lower House held a legislative session on Wednesday to continue discussions on the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing bill, which included a debate on a proposal that would require lawyers to provide evidence against their own clients.اضافة اعلان

During the legislative session, MP Abdul Karim Al-Daghmi objected to the proposal to require lawyers to produce evidence against their clients, which would apply if they suspect them of engaging in suspicious conduct. Daghmi stated that lawyers are essential for banking secrecy and clients’ confidentiality, and emphasized that a lawyer has no right to testify against a client.

He stated that “even if a person comes and confesses to (his lawyer) that he is guilty, the lawyer could not testify against him” and that “this plan is not acceptable at all.” He added that it is outside the general rules of the legal profession as well as the general principles of the trust contract.

In response, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Mahmoud Al-Kharabsheh argued that whistleblowers and informants are key for uncovering money laundering and terrorist financing, which is what the bill meant to do.

The proposal was eventually unanimously struck down.

During the session, MP Saleh Al-Armouti also criticized the behavior of banks, demanding that the Central Bank stop requesting variable data from Jordanians and regulate other banks to do the same.

He also objected to government-approved language in the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing bill that would make it legal for authorities to confiscate a wife’s money if a husband violates or commits the crime of money laundering or another financial crime, stating that a woman’s obligation in Sharia is independent from her husband’s.

MPs also urged the government to bring back a general pardon, which was first implemented in 2018 and encompassed a variety of felonies, tickets, and criminal acts.

According to the memo, the gesture was made in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the tough economic situation the country is facing. The memo stated that the issuing of the pardon would be a watershed moment for inmates’ families.

Thousands of detainees who had been included in a nationwide amnesty were released in May 2019. At the time, His Majesty King Abdullah ratified the General Pardon Law, as passed by the 18th House of Representatives.

Additionally, members addressed a controversy from Monday’s session. Jordan News reported that on Monday, MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh made offensive comments during the session towards other MPs and towards the Dome. On Wednesday, he was referred to the legal committee for an investigation into his remarks.

The Speaker of Parliament, lawyer Abdel Moneim Al-Awadat, addressed the incident. He said: “We will not accept any encroachment on the prestige and reputation of the House of Representatives,” emphasizing that “the dignity of each colleague is the dignity of all of them.” Members expressed their anger at Ajarmeh’s comments.

MP Osama Al-Ajarmah made a statement towards the end of the session despite multiple hectic and impassioned interruptions from other members, as well as from Awadat, who demanded an apology. Although Ajarmeh started to deliver his statement; he was not able to finish his due to the ending of the session.

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