The cabinet has approved two new sets of rules, including the AML (Forfeited Properties Management) Rules 2021 and the AML (Referral) Rules 2021, as part of efforts to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions. The aim of the government is to get removed from the global anti-corruption watchdog’s grey list.
These new rules are passed under the National Policy Statement on Follow the Money and introduce new rules on forfeiture, management, and auction of properties and assets relating to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) cases. They also involve the transfer of investigations and prosecution of AML cases from police, provincial anti-corruption establishments (ACEs), and other similar agencies to specialized agencies, a local media outlet reported on Monday.
The move has come to achieve the remaining three out of total 27 benchmarks of the FATF, and these rules will be effective immediately for which administrators and special public prosecutors will also be appointed.
They will have the power to confiscate, receive, manage, rent out, auction, transfer or dispose of or take all other measures to preserve the value of the properties and assets, under the AML 2010 rules.
Review meetings of the FATF are scheduled for the second week of June 2021. The next FATF plenary on June 21-25 will decide whether Pakistan has fulfilled the conditions of demonstrating that terrorist financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the directive of the designated persons or entities; TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; and effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists.
The appointed officials will be chosen from regional directors of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Each agency would establish a central asset recovery office to ensure assets recovery and management of the forfeited property and keep a designated central account with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), maintained by the Ministry of Finance.
All investigating and prosecuting agencies would exchange financial intelligence and information as well under the AMLA 2010.
Through this new policy, the government commits to protecting the financial system and the broader economy in Pakistan from criminality. A robust financial system will be put in place to ensure that dirty money does not find its way into the financial system. It would ensure a transparent, robust, and efficient approach to investigating money laundering and terrorist financing.