LEAs register numerous cases to curb illegal money transactions

ISLAMABAD: Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have registered a number of cases on charges of money laundering under measures launched to control illegal transaction of money in the country particularly through hundi/hawala.

These cases are at different stages of investigation and prosecution.

The authorities concerned also imparted capacity building trainings to strengthen capabilities of Law Enforcement Agencies, Regulators, Judges, Prosecutors and Reporting Entities.

Enumerating the steps being taken by the government to control illegal transaction of money in the country, official sources at Revenue Division on Wednesday said these included enactment of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, 2010 along with Schedule of predicate offences of various laws and Amendments/reforms in AML Act, 2010 in line with emerging requirements.

The AML law established a High-Powered Inter-Ministerial Committee National Executive Committee (NEC) for policy, strategy and coordination functions under Chairmanship of Finance Minister.

General Committee (GC) headed by Finance Secretary is also in place to assist the NEC.

The steps included that AML Law created an independent Financial Intelligence Unit – Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) with sole mandate to receive, analyze and disseminate Suspicious and Currency Transaction Reports to designated Law Enforcement Agencies and Regulators (State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Issuance of revised AML/CFT Regulators, 2015 with Red Flag Indicators by FMU for effective reporting of suspicious transactions and unusual cash transactions, Expansion in list of predicate offences for money laundering out of laws of Customs; Foreign Exchange Regulations; Pakistan Penal Code; Prevention of Corruption Act; Securities Act; and fiscal statutes and Revision of Currency Transaction Report (CTR) Threshold to Rs. 2 million (previously it was Rs.2.5 million) were the other measures adopted.

The sources said Investigation & Prosecution powers have been assigned to five designated LEAs – National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Director General (Intelligence and Investigation) FBR and Director General (Intelligence and Investigation-Inland Revenue) FBR.

Moreover, the sources said to introduce faster, cheaper and efficient flow of home remittances through formal channels, Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) was introduced in the country and steps taken in this regard included increasing outreach through inclusion of new financial institutions i.e. commercial banks, micro-finance Banks, Pakistan Post Office etc., introduction of new home remittance products including cash-over-counter facility, pardes card etc., implementation and improvement in payment system infrastructure (online settlement) and establishment of a call center to resolve complaints related to home remittances.

Furthermore, the sources said State Bank of Pakistan has also taken policy measures to curb demand for illegal money laundering and these included autonomous of Form E (Export), autonomous of Form I (Import), simplified health and education payments, remittances by Authorized dealers on behalf of Hajj Group Organizers for Hajj and capacity building of Authorized dealers, Exchange Companies and LEAs.