ISLAMABAD-National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Monday has approved the “The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020” after rejecting the proposals of the opposition.

The meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue was held under the chairmanship of MNA Mr. Faiz Ullah. The Committee discussed “The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020” and recommended that the Bill may be passed by the Assembly. 

The committee has approved the bill after rejecting the recommendations of the opposition. Nine members have casted votes in favour of bill while six members opposed it. The opposition members objected over certain restrictions on jewellers on recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). They were of the view that purchasing of jewellery of over Rs2 million would be bound to be registered and this limit should be jacked up. 

Despite assurance of government, the members did not approve AML Amendment Bill 2020. Under the Bill, the government has proposed to regulate the jewellers, lawyers, real estate agents including builders, developers, property dealers and housing authorities, chartered accountants and people involved in businesses related to precious stones. Under the bill, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), National Savings and Pakistan Post will work as regulators.

The government has also proposed to increase the punishment and fine for involvement in money laundering. The fine has been proposed to be in between Rs2.5 million-Rs5 million while the punishment has been proposed to be increased to 10 years. Similarly, in case of companies the fine has been proposed to be increased to Rs100 million while the punishment has been proposed to be extended to 10 years.

The government has also proposed to include the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), FBR, SECP, SBP, Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), Customs and Income Tax Intelligence and other provincial departments in money laundering investigations.  On the other hand, a national executive committee under the chair of the finance minister has also been proposed to be established which will provide policy directions in order to stop terror financing. 

The government has also proposed to increase the powers of the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU). The unit will immediately report suspicious transactions to law enforcement agencies and other departments while departments will be bound to provide feedback to FMU. 

The meeting was 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, Mr. Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Chaudhary Khalid Javed, Mr. Ali Perviz, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Nafisa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar and Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers from Ministry of Finance and Revenue, Law and Justice and Financial Monitoring Unit.