The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will send mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests to foreign jurisdictions for investigating cases involving the accused or criminal offence with links to foreign jurisdictions.
According to a Customs General Order No. 01 of 2023 issued on Wednesday, the Collectors of Customs or Director shall ensure that in all cases where the accused or the criminal offence has links in a foreign jurisdiction and evidence from such foreign jurisdiction can be useful for investigation, an MLA request will be sent to the concerned foreign jurisdiction.
The request will be made directly through the national focal point under the MLA (Criminal Matters) Act, 2020, under intimation to the Chief, International Customs, FBR; or through the office of the Chief, International Customs, FBR.
Under the customs laws, “Foreign Jurisdiction” means a foreign country with which Pakistan has a bilateral arrangement for mutual legal assistance, including assistance in AML/ CFT cases;
The Collectorate/Directorate may also seek other forms of international cooperation or informal assistance, under intimation to the Chief, International Customs, FBR directly using the existing organization-to-organization channels, whether online or manually.
Efforts shall be made to develop and use an automated system to maintain and update records of all incoming and outgoing MLA requests and other forms of international cooperation.
The Directorate of CBCM shall be the overall data repository of all AML/CFT-related cases pertaining to Pakistan Customs, including cases referred to CTD, whether such cases are initiated on the reports of the Financial Monitoring Unit (EMU) or of the Collectorates/Directorates of Pakistan Customs.
All Collectorates/Directorates of Pakistan Customs shall also maintain an updated record of all cases of predicate offences and shall submit monthly reports to the Chief, Facilitation & Compliance (F&C), FBR with intimation to the Chief, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Cell, FBR. All Collectorates/Directorates shall intimate the Directorate of CBCM on monthly basis about the number of money laundering (ML) cases, including cases referred to CTD or other agencies.
The International Customs (IC) Section of the Customs Wing, FBR shall maintain record/data of all incoming and outgoing MLA requests on the prescribed format. All Collectorates/Directorates shall be bound to respond to the MLA request received from International Customs (IC) Section of FBR within the specified timelines, if any, and shall keep an updated record of all incoming and outgoing MLA requests pertaining to their respective jurisdiction.