ISLAMABAD – Expressing dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s performance to strengthened the legal framework about Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML & CFT), a delegation of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) has asked Islamabad to take more steps if it want to get out of the Financial Action Task Force’ (FATF) grey list.
The purpose of the mutual evaluation onsite visit is to assess the effectiveness of Pakistan’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime under FATF methodology.
The APG inspectors include Ian Collins of the United Kingdom’s Scotland Yard, James Prussing of the United States Department of the Treasury, Ashraf Abdullah of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Maldives, Bobby Wahyu Hernawan of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, Gong Jingyan of the Peoples Bank of China and Mustafa Necmeddin Oztop of the Turkish Ministry of Justice, who are in Pakistan for mutual evaluation of the effectiveness of Pakistan’s AML/CFT rregime under FATF methodology, Dawn reported.
The visiting delegation highlighted loopholes in legal framework and institutional arrangements, besides calling for improving the systems set up for scrutinising the entities registered under the companies act, including NGOs, exchange companies, brokerage houses and donation of corporate companies.
They also threw light on the areas where vigorous legislation exist to check the financial flow of the firms but its implementation is not up to the mark due to the lack of corporation among the government agencies. The team said that scrutiny of real estate sector needed to be boosted as various financial deals are done outside the ambit of the legal record.
A team of the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) apprised the visiting delegation that brokerage houses were largely documented though real estate dealers and their operations did not come under its authority.
The APG also highlighted weakness in commodity trading and questioned the effectiveness of laws to curb the money laundering through cross-check system.
The delegation asked the departments concerned to issue deadline for resolving the issues highlighted by the team. The authorities would also have to manage the record of donation boxes placed by religious and other groups at restaurants, the APG said, adding that all exchange and real estate dealers would have register every transaction with the authority concerned.
In June 2018, Pakistan had pledged to robust its legal framework related to AML/CFT regime by implementing a 10-point action plan. The verification of this high-level promise by the APG is a prerequisite for the FATF to strike Pakistan off its grey list.