NA body approves AML Amendment bill despite strong opposition | Pakistan Today

NA body approves AML Amendment bill despite strong opposition

ISLAMABAD: While the members of the committee from opposition parties stood against more legislation regarding Anti-Money Laundering (AML), the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs approved the 2nd amendment in AML Bill 2020 with a majority vote.
During the meeting of the committee which was chaired by MNA Faiz Ullah, at least nine members of the committee voted in favor of the amendment while six members from opposition parties cast their vote against the bill.
While opposing the AML bill opposition members claim that none of the recommendations they made regarding the bill was accommodated. However, the Chairman of the committee said that the members had discussed the bill for seven hours in the last meetings and the objections raised by the members would be part of the proceedings of the committee.
Syed Naveed Qamar of PPP, while objecting the bill said that he had strongly opposed the inclusion of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the AML Bill in the last meetings. However, NAB was still part of the bill. However, officials of Financial Monitoring (FMU) claimed that in various criminal cases NAB has already been assisting various investigation agencies. “ It is very difficult to exclude NAB from the bill at the movement,” the FMU officials informed the committee.
Naveed Qamar said the government is bulldozing the FATF related legislations through the parliament, adding that the proposed legislation might make it difficult for people to do business.
PML-N lawmaker Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said that the bill passed by the committee will increase harassment cases of businessmen in the country. “The government is bulldozing even international practices while approving such bills in haste even without comparing what laws other countries have made to fulfill the FATF related conditions,” she said adding that the government should not expect foreign investment after the legislation.
Another lawmaker of PML-N Qaisar Ahmed Shaikh expressed his concerns about the urgency shown by the PTI led federal government for enacting FATF related legislation. “FATF has not recommended what has been approved through the bill,” he said.
PPP lawmaker Hina Rabbani Khar claimed that the government was following tactics of harassing the opposition parties. The AML bill would also facilitate the ruling party to victimize the opposition.
The 2nd Amendment in AML Bill 2020 will now need to be passed by the National Assembly. Through the bill, the fine raising the fine for money laundering from the existing Rs5 million up to Rs25 million, and in case of legal persons the fine may be increased to Rs100 million with the imprisonment of 10 years.
Pakistan is required by the FATF to implement an action plan to bring its financial system in compliance with the international FATF standards on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
The amendments in the AML bill are aimed at streamlining the existing AML law in line with the international standards prescribed by the FATF. These amendments would identify the AML/CFT regulatory authorities in Pakistan including the regulatory authorities for the designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) and their powers.
Functions and powers of AML/CFT regulatory authorities have been clearly defined with powers to issue licenses, regulate and perform other ancillary functions to comply with provisions of the AML Act.
The meeting of the NA Committee on Monday was also attended by MNAs, Mr. Sadaqat Ali Khan, Mr. Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Mr. Amjid Ali Khan, Mr. Raza Nasrullah, Makhdoom Syed Sami-ul-Hassan Gillani, Mr. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mr. Faheem Khan, Mr. Aftab Hussain Saddique, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Mr. Ali Perviz, and Ms. Nafisa Shah. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers from M/o Finance and Revenue, Law and Justice, and FMU.