The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) registered 215 First Information Reports (FIRs) against 267 people under the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act in the last four years.
Chairman FBR, Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmad, shared this with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue which met under the chair of MNA Faiz Ullah on Wednesday.
The committee discussed the problems being faced by the business community due to obscurity regarding the implementation of the AML Act and the role of law enforcement agencies in this regard.
The Chairman FBR informed the parliamentary panel that FBR lodged 215 FIRs against 267 people. He added that FBR had completed investigations into 44 cases related to money laundering and investigations into another 170 cases were underway. He said the government had also confiscated properties worth Rs. 235 billion besides detecting Rs. 76 billion tax evasion as well as freezing 640 bank accounts.
The Chairman NA panel said that the business community had expressed serious concerns over the AML Act. Tax evasion and money laundering are two different things and FBR should facilitate the business community, he underlined.
The Chairman FBR said the government had authorized FBR to deal with money laundering cases. “We have not prosecuted the people in money laundering cases,” he said, admitting that the enactment of the law had created fear in the business community.
A committee member sought from the government the details of Saudi Arabia’s financial assistance worth $4.2 billion as Saudi Arabia had agreed to place $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan account and would provide a deferred oil payment facility.
The committee also discussed the Federal Government Properties Management Authority Bill, 2021 (Ordinance No. XV of 2021). Members expressed concern on the objectives of the Bill as members belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz have opposed the bill. They said that it would open a new pandora box.
The committee recommended that the Ministry of Finance and Revenue would obtain the views of the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives whether they had received any input from the concerned stakeholders such as the Ministry of Housing and Works, Ministry of Privatization, and Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
The committee decided that said bill would be discussed in the next meeting.