LEAs Register 230 Cases Under Anti Money Laundering Act

LEAs register 230 cases under Anti Money Laundering Act

ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th Jan, 2017 ) : The Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in the country have registered 230 cases under Anti Money Laundering (AML) Act to curb sources of funds being used in terrorism. The number of cases registered under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) was 498. The number of cases registered as Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) from Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) was 116. A data issued by Interior Division while highlighting the details of registration of such cases and steps being taken to curb sources of such funds on Thursday revealed these relevant cases are under investigation in provinces.

The data further revealed that Anti Money Laundering Act 2010 has been enacted, and, AML Rules, 2008 have also been framed. The government has signed to International Convention on Suppression of Financing of Terrorism adopted by General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution. Moreover, in order to strengthen anti-terrorist regime,specially with a focus to choke terrorists funding sources, amendments in ATA 1997 have been introduced in March 2013 and in June, 2014 respectively.

The basic objective was to make the law more effective and harmonized with international best practices. Rules under ATA 1997 for freezing of assets of terrorist have been framed and are with Law and Justice Division for final vetting. The government has so far proscribed 62 organizations under provision of ATA 1997 while State Bank of Pakistan has issued detailed Regulations to all banks, for strict compliance, regarding anti-money laundering/terrorist financing.

These Regulations are regularly updated by SBP. Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 has been promulgated which makes collection of funds for terrorist organizations through any information system or electronic devices in offence. Similarly, Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) has also been set up which is now fully functional. FMU is regularly sending Suspicious Transactions Reports (STR) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) about suspects to various agencies like Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), (Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation) to investigate and take action according to law.

National Action Plan (NAP) had also been chalked out wherein point No, 6 relates to "Choking financing for terrorist and terrorist organizations." NAP is being implemented in letter and spirit. The collection of funds, through donation boxes, for different organizations has been banned. In case of violation, donation boxes are seized and action under the law is taken by local police. In terms of AML Act, 2010 reporting entities are legally bound to send financial intelligence to FMU in all cases where there is a suspicious that funds are related to terrorist activities or terrorist organizations.

Moreover, the data said the government has recently shared a list of persons placed on schedule 4th of ATA 1997, along with their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers for freezing of their bank accounts, accordingly the SBP has frozen 4461 bank accounts of 4th Schedules all over Pakistan. The SBP has also issued prudential regulations under which bankers are duty bound to exercise Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations without fail and report all Suspicious Transactions to FMU.

Designated/proscribed entities and individuals are prohibited from opening of bank accounts and/or availing any facility from any financial institution in Pakistan. Various capacity building programmes are regularly arranged for Law Enforcement Agencies to develop and strengthen their skills regarding investigation of financial crimes while units for countering of terrorism financing have been established under counter terrorist departments of the provinces.