Islamabad: The National Assembly’s (NA) Standing Committee on Finance approved the Anti-Money Laundering and Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bills 2019 on Tuesday, according to news sources. In order to fulfil the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s requirements to curb money laundering, the approved bill prescribes increased punishments for offenders, and highlights how to deal with such crimes for concerned authorities.
The approved Foreign Exchange Regulations Bill will ensure that no transaction of USD 10,000 or above takes place within the country without the permission of the State Bank of Pakistan.
As per the new anti-money-laundering bill, violators of the anti-money laundering law will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and will be liable to pay a fine of PKR 5 million, instead of the earlier sentence of 2 years and a PKR 1 million fine. The authorised duration of remand for the offenders has also been raised from 90 days to 180 days. Authorities will no longer require arrest warrants and will be allowed to seize the offenders’ assets.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General (DG) Bashir Memon had proposed these amendments to the Bill in the committee session held under the chairmanship of Asad Umar in the House of Parliament.
State Bank officials revealed to the meeting that FATF has set the condition that money laundering crimes are to be reported immediately. They also revealed that bank employees who file erroneous suspicious transaction reports, and those who fail to report such transactions, will be facing legal charges.