LAHORE - New FIA Punjab Director Tariq Chohan has expressed his firm resolve to continue fight against money laundering.

He said targeted raids would be conducted against people involved in heinous business and no harassment would be created to those doing righteous trade.

He expressed these views while talking to The Nation on Friday at his office.

He said creating panic among business circles of the country would leave negative impact on economy.

He said he was examining the working of his subordinates after taking the charge a few days ago.

There were loopholes in the laws to curb money laundering and FIA has sent its recommendations to authorities concerned to make amendments.

At present FIA was taking action against the suspected criminals under Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA) that under which no sufficient punishments have been recommended against violators.

In cases where punishment was less than five years accused could get bail from the court easily. Sources in FIA revealed that law has been drafted and after being wet by the law department would be presented in Assembly for legislation.

Chohan said that there was shortage of manpower in the agency due to which in various circles FIA officers have to seek help of the retired officers but to discourage this trend he has transferred 10 officials to a circle. He was of the view that after transfers of ten officials if private or retired officials were found working in that circle, action would be taken accordingly.

It merits to mention here that Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed concern over the illegal business of money laundering since a Paris based watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has placed Pakistan in grey list in 2018 due to OUR poor working against money laundering.

In the past the Punjab chapter of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) could register only 14 cases of money laundering in the first 100 days of the incumbent government with zero percent conviction rate so far. Pakistan remained on the grey list of FATF from 2012 to 2015 due to weak action again money laundering. In 2018, it was once again put on the grey list.

FATF was established in 1989 by G-7 Summit to prevent money laundering and its recommendations are used as international standards. It has a heavy influence over multilateral donor organizations like IMF and World Bank, etc.

On the other hand, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab registered 126 cases of terror finance under the ATA 1997 from 2015 to 2018. At least 40 people were convicted in these cases and Rs1,822,033 were seized. At least 74 cases of money laundering were registered in 2015, 24 in 2016, five in 2017 and 35 in 2018.