Experts suggest steps for removing Pakistan from FATF grey list

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ISLAMABAD: A nine-member delegation of global experts on Thursday finalized a report envisaging a string of measures for de-listing Pakistan from the grey list of countries from September 2019.

The visiting team of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) suggested measures in its report after on-site assessment of prevailing legal and institutional framework during its 11 days of engagement with stakeholders to curb terror financing and money laundering in Pakistan.

The APG’s first on-site inspection of Pakistan was its commitment with the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Govt reaffirms its commitment to working with FATF

A source privy to meetings told Dawn that the report which is termed ‘Exit Report’ will be submitted formally to the government on Friday, which is the last day of the global experts’ stay in Pakistan.

The report, according to the source, will be discussed at a meeting to be attended by senior officers of all leading government departments and agencies, especially the Federal Investi­gation Age­ncy, Financial Monitoring Unit, Federal Board of Revenue and Anti-Narcotics Force in order to respond to queries raised in the exit report.

The report includes 40 recommendations which were segregated in 11 outcomes performance benchmarks.

According to the source, Pakistan is compliant in more than 50 per cent of the recommendations. How­ever, the source said it was not clear whether it would be sufficient for Pakistan to come out of the grey list.

In August, the APG as part of the pre-site mutual evaluation identified a series of deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering (AML)/counter-terror financing (CFT) laws and mechanisms. The report was sent to Pakistan with recommendations.

In response, Pakistan has provided details of measures taken in compliance with the recommendations.

On Oct 5, Pakistan received another technical compliance annexure from APG which further highlighted deficiencies in the AML/CFT measures that Islamabad needs to take.

During the current meetings, the assessment team and agency officials extensively discussed with senior Pakistani officials Islam­abad’s compliance with inter­national AML/CFT measures, draft of the technical compliance annexure sent on Oct 5, Pakistan’s response to these measures and commitment on how the country will meet core issue of the immediate outcomes.

According to the source, it has been highlighted in the last meetings that Pakistan is mostly compliant in legislation of various laws for AML/CFT, but issues were mostly related to its implementation.

The laws are mostly there but there are issues related to structural arrangements for the effective implementation of these laws, the source said.

Officials of the ministries of interior, finance, foreign affairs and law besides the State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, National Counter-Terrorism Authority, FIA, Federal Board of Revenue, National Accountability Bureau, Anti-Narcotics Force, FMU, Central Directorate of National Savings and provincial counter-terrorism departments attended the briefings and explanations.

The purpose of the Mutual Evaluation onsite visit is to assess the effectiveness of Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime under FATF’s effectiveness methodology.

The visiting assessment team comprised Ashraf Abdulla, Financial Intel­ligence Unit, Maldives; Boby Wahyu Hernawan, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia; Gong Jingyan, People’s Bank of China; Ian Collins, New Scotland Yard, United Kingdom; James Prussing, Department of the Treasury, United States; and Mustafa Necmeddin OZTOP, Ministry of Justice, Turkey.

Three members of the APG secretariat include Gor­don Hook, Executive Sec­retary; Mohammad Al-Rashdan, Deputy Dire­ctor; and Shannon Ruther­ford, Deputy Director.

Meeting with finance minister
The APG Mutual Eva­luation Assessment Team had a courtesy call on Finance Minister Asad Umar on Thursday.

The team, headed by Gordon Hook, briefed the minister about the purpose of their visit and meetings with Pakistan’s AML/CFT stakeholders.

Mr Umar reiterated the government’s commitment to implement the international AML/CFT standards and reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong and unequivocal commitment to work with APG/FATF in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and other financial crimes.

In particular, the minister emphasised that Pakistan would continue to take all actions required to strengthen the country’s AML/CFT regime.

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