ISLAMABAD: The Asia-Pacific Regional Review Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is coming to Pakistan from 13 to 16 August for onsite assessment of Pakistan’s measures taken against ant-money laundering and terror financing issues. It is going to a crucial visit of FATF/APG in the wake of recent developments made by the western countries on anti-money laundering and terror financing issues .
The purpose of the Asia/ Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) is to ensure the adoption, implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards as set out in the FATF forty recommendations and FATF eight special recommendations.
The effort includes assisting countries and territories of the region in enacting laws to deal with the proceeds of crime, mutual legal assistance, confiscation, forfeiture and extradition; providing guidance in setting up systems for reporting and investigating suspicious transactions and helping in the establishment of financial intelligence units. The APG also enables regional factors to be taken into account in the implementation of anti-money laundering measures.
Previously, the FATF/APG delegation visited Pakistan from 3-4 December in 2014 and held meeting with then Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, and the Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan.
During stay in Pakistan FATF/APG will review Pakistan’s progress on an action plan on both anti money laundering, terror financing and other submitted by Pakistan in FATF’s previous meetings held in Geneva and Paris.
In this regard, a official source at Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told Customs Today on Wednesday that FATF/APG would hold discussions with FBR’s Inland Revenue and Customs departments to seek updated status of progress made by both the departments on the relevant subjects.
“Both the departments have formed their teams headed by senior officers of grade-20 for the finalization of presentations and answers to the possible queries from the delegations and these teams are working day and night to finalize their briefing materials quite well in time” the source added.
Beside FBR, the source said that FATF/APG delegations would also hold meetings with a number of government agencies, including the Financial Monitoring Unit, the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Interior, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Anti-Narcotics Force. The Regional Review Group’s report of the visit will be discussed at the upcoming FATF Plenary meeting.
The source further added that the delegation would focus on its meetings with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) FIA, FMU and ANF because these organizations were more relevant to both the money laundering and terror financing as compared to FBR’s IR &I and Customs departments because the Lahore High Court had suspended the powers of investigation of IR& I department.
“FBR has taken up this issue with the previous and interim governments on a number of occasions but in vain therefore the upcoming government will have take serious action in this regard to get desired results against money laundering and terror financing” the source added.
The source said that FBR had already written to field officer for information of taxation system of trusts and non-profiting organization. But terror financing has been involved underground economic characters and therefore FIA and other investigative agencies were in a better position to look into the matter.