Govt starts monitoring national saving accounts to curb money laundering
In an effort to further tighten the noose around the money launderers, the federal government has increased surveillance of people depositing and drawing large amounts from their bank accounts, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Saturday.
Quoting sources, the channel reported similarly, the government has also started scrutinizing suspicious or benami investments made in national saving schemes.
The government has also directed the concerned department to release reports of people depositing cash without any reason and has suggested five-year prison term and Rs2 million fine in the event of failure to release the report.
The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, became a law on September 24, 2020, fulfilling a major demand of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
President Dr Arif Alvi signed the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill into law, which will be effective immediately.
The National Assembly Secretariat also confirmed the president’s consent.
The new law calls for severe punishments for those involved in the money laundering.
A joint session of the Parliament had bulldozed three Financial Action Task Force-related laws in an attempt to avoid being added to the task force’s blacklist.
In the joint session, marred by opposition protests, the bills were passed with a thin majority of 10 votes, with 200 lawmakers voting in its support and 190 opposition legislators opposing the legislation.
The three bills passed with amendments were the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020; Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill; and the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
After having been passed thrice by the National Assembly in the past, these bills were blocked three times by the opposition-dominated Senate, prompting President Arif Alvi to summon a joint session of the Parliament to make crucial legislation.
The Paris-based FATF had placed Pakistan on its grey list in June 2018, making it extremely difficult for the cash-starved country to raise money on the international bond market.
However, it remains to be seen whether the recent government moves are also aimed at fulfilling FATF demands.