Appointment of FMU DG a herculean task as country faces FATF grey list challenge

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ISLAMABAD: It could be a daunting task for the government to appoint the new Director General (DG) of Financial Management Unit (FMU), an institution which not only deals with international cooperation but makes coordination between the country’s department on Anti Money Laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) matters.

Sources told this scribe that the government is running the affairs of FMU on acting charge basis at a moment when the country is struggling hard to come out from the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The FATF had placed Pakistan on its grey list on June 27, 2017, owing to deficiencies in strategic counter-terrorism financing and given 15 months till November 2019 to implement the plan.

Former Finance Minister Mifah Ismail had sacked the former DG Mansoor Ali over poor performance; sources further added that Finance Ministry gave the acting charge to another officer of FMU but the FM in caretaker set up, Shamshad Akhtar was not happy with the performance of Muneeb, the acting DG of FMU.

Sources told that Shamshad Akhtar had asked the incumbent FM Asad Umer to immediately fill the position of DG on a full-time basis.

“FMU has long been confronted with serious challenges of insufficient senior management, lack of empowerment in administrative affairs and process delays which affects its operational ability for optimal performance and provision of necessary guidance to the other authorities”, Shamshad Akhtar had further stated that the FMU is under-resourced and is likely to heavily impact its ability to make optimal performance in relation to the Action Plan and Pakistan’s mutual evaluation.

FMU may thus be empowered to create and fill the vacant and newly-added posts by hiring suitable candidates and furthermore, FMU may be operationally strengthened to handle its administrative affairs under the oversight of NEC/GC, Akhtar also suggested.

A large majority of AML/CFT stakeholders are headquartered in Islamabad. Timely and effective coordination and effective implementation of policy decisions demand that FMU may set up its camp office in Islamabad and fill it with senior-level horizontal positions.

However, FMU’s core functions relating to transactions reports may continue to be carried out from Karachi.

She had stated that decisions of strengthening the FMU have been made but needs the approval of the new government.

Pakistan Today made several attempts to take the stance of FM Asad Umer on the matter but received no response till the filing of this story.