Pakistan takes stringent measures against Money Laundering with several new steps

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Pakistan takes stringent measures against Money Laundering with several new steps

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan takes stringent measures against Money Laundering with several new steps.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance passed Anti Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Friday with several recommendations including the increase in fines to ten million rupees and ten years imprisonment for money laundering. This is aimed at streamlining the existing AML law in line with international standards and ensure technical compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The committee met with Senator Farooq H Naik in the chair and observed that there were some errors in the Anti-Money Laundering Bill and has re-submitted for correction.

The National Assembly has prepared some recommendations in this bill. All provisions of the Anti Money Laundering Amendment Bill were reviewed.

The committee, despite the stress of the Finance Ministry, rejected the proposal for arrest without warrant in suspicions of money laundering.

The committee reviewed the recommendations of the National Assembly in detail and approved the amendments and amended Section (4), Section (e) (4) 6, Section (1) 7 and (4) 7, Section (1) 8, Section (5) 9, Section 21, Section (3) 21, section 33 and section (2) 34.

DG Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) said that amendments need to be in accordance with FATF’s requirements as it would serve as technical compliance.

If the amendments do not comply with the FATIF recommendations, there may be problems, said FMU official, adding that the time is approaching for the actions’ implementation and the legislation needs to be done.

Senator Sherry Rehman objected on why did the government commit before the passage of legislation from the parliament.

According to the federal government, the proposed amendments in the Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2019 “aim at streamlining the existing AML law in line with international standards and suggest enhancing the punishment of offense of money laundering to make it more dissuasive and deterrent.”

The amendments suggest making the offense punishable under the AML Act, 2010 a ‘cognizable offense.’ These amendments will also allow the Financial Monitoring Unit to seek Egmont Group Membership (Group of Financial Intelligence Unit) which is the requirement under the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations. However, the committee rejected the proposal and recommended the offense will be non-cognizable.

Three members including Shibli Faraz, Mohsin Aziz and Anwar Ul Haq Kakar gave the descending notes while proposing it needs to be cognizable.