MoEA rec­om­mends new clauses for fronting

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The Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs (MoEA) has rec­om­mended that new clauses deal­ing with fronting be added to the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan.

Fronting is cur­rently not cat­e­go­rized as a crim­i­nal of­fence un­der the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan or any other law. The penalty for en­gag­ing in fronting is a mere can­cel­la­tion of the li­cense and im­me­di­ate clo­sure of the busi­ness.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Norbu Wangchuk said fronting is a crime and it hap­pens mainly due to leas­ing busi­ness li­cences.

If fronting is cov­ered in the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan, it will be con­sid­ered a crime and a per­son will be guilty of the of­fence of fronting if he or she leases, hires or per­mits a busi­ness as well as con­tract li­cense reg­is­tered in his or her name to another per­son.

Pan­bang MP Dorji Wangdi said out of three rec­om­men­da­tions the min­istry had made, only the amend­ment of fronting in the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan was im­por­tant. He said ev­ery­thing could be changed based on it.

Another rec­om­men­da­tion was to re­vise the pro­ce­dures for Lib­er­a­tion of Trade and Ser­vices Li­cense in Phuntshol­ing, Gele­phu and Sam­drupongkhar towns. The min­istry found that this pro­ce­dure was in­ap­pro­pri­ate and not ef­fec­tive as fronting is preva­lent in all other dzongkhags.

A re­vised pro­ce­dure will be is­sued and im­ple­mented in all the dzongkhags.

The MoEA al­lows the trans­fer of li­cense from par­ents to chil­dren only if they pro­duce certification of a court of law.

The rec­om­men­da­tion to pro­vide new clauses for fronting in the pe­nal code will be for­warded to the leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee for fur­ther dis­cus­sion and ap­proval.

The word fronting was coined in Bhutan. It means un­li­censed per­son com­ing in front to op­er­ate a busi­ness li­censed to another per­son.

The 7th ses­sion of the National Assem­bly ( NA) has re­solved to amend the rel­e­vant laws to de­fine fronting as a crim­i­nal of­fence. The MoEA was man­dated to carry out a study in con­sul­ta­tion with rel­e­vant agen­cies and to sub­mit a re­port to the house.

The MoEA sub­mit­ted three rec­om­men­da­tions based on their find­ings and ob­ser­va­tions with rel­e­vant agen­cies dur­ing the 8th ses­sion of the NA.

The three rec­om­men­da­tions was to amend sec­tion 3 of 1995 rule, pro­vide new clauses for fronting in the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan and to re­vise the pro­ce­dure for lib­er­al­iza­tion of Trade and Ser­vices Li­censes in Phuntshol­ing, Gele­phu and Sam­drupongkhar towns.

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