Actions being taken to ensure compliance with protocols of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
ISLAMABAD (Dec 14, 2018) — The PTI-led government has made a major move against money laundering facilitators, by launching a countrywide crackdown against officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Customs, Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) and other relevant departments.
The operation is aimed at nabbing FIA, Pakistan Customs, ANF officials and others within the government involved in terror financing and capital flight as well.
“FIA, ANF, Customs, Coast Guards, Naval Intelligence and all law enforcement agencies have become a part of the crackdown and operations are being conducted across the country,” report Pakistan Today citing a source in the administration.
An FIA inspector, they said, was arrested on Friday from Peshawar airport as he tried to board a plane carrying 200,000 British Pounds. “Officials of Pakistan Customs arrested the accused and his accomplice who had been facilitated by FIA officials at the airport.”
“The Customs department has registered an FIR against both the officials,” sources said and added that the arrest was a part of the massive swoop launched on directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who wants Pakistan to strictly comply with the standards identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). More arrests are likely, PKonweb has learnt.
A six-member ministerial committee is monitoring actions being taken to ensure compliance with protocols of the FATF.
“Zero tolerance would be observed against capital flight, money laundering and terror financing as part of the crackdown,” a member of the committee said.
Sources said all state institutions are on board as well, adding that all steps were being taken in coordination with the armed forces. “Representatives of intelligence agencies have been named and in initial meetings, targeted actions have been launched too. The action being taken is multipronged and multidimensional.”
“FIA, on the other hand, has been tasked to lead operations against hawala and hundi. FIA DG Bashir Memon himself is supervising these operations and commendable results are coming,” sources said and added that the agency was also making sure that no movement of cash was being made through illegal means.
“Illegal capital is mostly sent abroad through land, air or sea routes. Border management is crucial in this regard. Since fencing along the Pak-Afghan border has entered its final stage, the movement of cash through land has become a remote possibility. We have also blocked the possibility of cash transmission through sea and air routes. Customs, Coast Guards, Maritime Security and Naval Intelligence have been directed to ensure no possibility of smuggling currency through sea routes. For land, law enforcement agencies’ action and fencing of borders are being reinforced,” they said adding that for air routes, FIA was in the lead role along with other subordinate agencies to keep a check on any illegal movement of cash.
“We have also directed FIA, FC and other paramilitary forces to block all smuggling routes.”.
The source said we are taking measures to comply with not only FATF guidelines but for our own good. We believe Pakistan needs to plug loopholes for its own good and are committed to meet these guidelines,” the official said.