E-commerce Platforms: How are you collecting tax?
The High Court yesterday wanted to know how tax is collected from e-commerce platforms and what steps have been taken into the allegation of money laundering by the companies.
The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit -- the government agency responsible for investigating money laundering, suspicious transactions and cash transaction reports -- has been asked to submit a detailed report within 30 days.
The HC also asked the National Board of Revenue to submit a report on how it collects tax from the e-commerce entities and whether it has any policy about tax collection for the sector.
At the same time, the HC asked the commerce ministry to inform about the functions and terms of reference of the 16-member committee reportedly formed by the ministry over the e-commerce scams and to place a separate report in the same period.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman came up with the directives after holding a hearing on three separate writ petitions that sought its directives for protecting the interest of consumers of e-commerce platforms including Evaly and Eorange and oversight of their activities.
The bench fixed November 8 for further hearing and passing orders on the petitions.
Lawyers Mohammad Shishir Manir, Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallob and Md Anwarul Islam Badhon placed arguments for the writ petitioners while Deputy Attorney General Bepul Bagmar opposed the petitions at the hearing.
Manir recently filed a writ petition on behalf of 33 aggrieved consumers of Eorange to the HC challenging the failure and inaction of the authorities concerned to take necessary actions or preventive measures to protect their rights.
In the petition, they requested the HC to issue a rule asking the authorities to explain why their failure and inaction should not be declared illegal and why they should not be directed to take necessary steps to compensate the victims of the e-commerce platforms including the petitioners.
They also urged the HC to order the government to constitute a committee of experts to prepare specific proposals for the protection of rights and interests of consumers of e-commerce platforms and submit a report before this court.
On September 20, Supreme Court lawyer Md Anwarul Islam Badhon submitted another writ petition as public interest litigation to the HC seeking its directive on the government to form an e-commerce regulatory authority to control the online commerce in the country.
In the petition, he said the National Digital Commerce Policy, 2018 has a mandate to establish an e-commerce regulatory authority, but the government is yet to comply with the mandate.
On September 22, SC lawyers Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallob and Mohammad Kawser filed a writ petition with the HC to form a judicial committee to inquire into the alleged embezzlement of money, money laundering and fraudulence by problematic e-commerce platforms including Evaly, Alesha Mart, E-orange, Dhamaka, Qcom, Aladiner Prodip and Dalal Plus.
They submitted the petition as public interest litigation to the HC requesting it to form the committee to ascertain the persons or the government authorities whose negligence or failure caused serious financial loss and damage to millions of customers.