ISLAMABAD: In order to prevent illegal flight of capital from the country, the government has decided to make significant amendments in money laundering and foreign exchange laws and enhance the maximum imprisonment to 10 years and the fine to Rs5 million for convicts.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on money laundering chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister Office on Wednesday.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem presented a detailed briefing on money laundering and it was suggested that in order to bring those involved to justice, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)-2010 should be merged with the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997. It was also suggested that through amendments in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA)-1947, maximum imprisonment ought to be increased from two to five years and all such offences be dealt with as non-cognisable.
Imran briefed on the need to merge anti-money laundering law with anti-terror act
The director general of the Federal Investigation Agency gave a presentation on four months of the agency’s performance, from Nov 2018 to Feb 2019, and apprised the committee that under AMLA and FERA, a total of 131 cases had been registered, the sum of Rs423.3 million recovered, and 198 people arrested. He informed the members of the meeting that cases related to suspicious transactions involving Rs540m were also under investigation.
The prime minister was briefed about undocumented properties in Dubai and benami bank accounts, and that a 12 per cent increase had been witnessed in foreign remittances. Further, it was said, due to action taken against the business of hawala / hundi, the rate of the US dollar had declined against Pakistani rupee by 15 paisas.
The Federal Board of Revenue chairman added that over $171m transactions were made through 11,335 declarations under the currency declaration system.
Later, Prime Minister Khan met representatives of 25 countries who are attending the Islamabad summit. Urging them to invest in the country, he said that Pakistan has almost changed with the PTI coming into power.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2019