Finance ministry clears the air surrounding FATF

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ISLAMABAD: Referring to a news report on issues regarding Pakistan’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its Asia Pacific Group (APG), the Ministry of Finance, for the sake of clarity, said on Monday that the country is passing through two separate processes, one is the FATF Action Plan and another is regular assessment of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

The Finance Ministry, said in a statement, “The FATF Action Plan has been agreed with FATF and is being implemented with timelines from Jan 2019 till September 2019. Its progress is being monitored by FATF on a quarterly basis. The focus of this action plan is on the implementation of terror financing regime in Pakistan.”

The regular APG assessment is part of Pakistan’s APG membership requirements and every country in the globe is required to undergo an assessment of AML/CFT framework, it added.

The ministry clarified that Pakistan’s assessment is being conducted by APG and assessment teams from China, Turkey, UK, USA, Indonesia and Maldives, adding that the purpose of the assessment is to gauge the level of compliance on key AML/CFT areas including adequacy and effectiveness of laws, policies and coordination, implementation of preventive measures, powers and capacity of FMU, supervisory and law enforcement agencies, use of financial intelligence and international cooperation.

“During the onsite visit (October 8-19, 2018) to Pakistan, the APG assessment team held meetings with all Pakistan’s AML/CFT stakeholders. This process will culminate in July 2019 in APG’s annual meeting and in between draft reports would be exchanged with APG including one face-to-face meeting in April 2019,” it said. “Both processes i.e. FATF Action Plan and APG’s mutual evaluation are distinct and may not be mixed while reporting in press.”

It is pertinent to mention that all countries undergo regular mutual evaluation process using a global assessment methodology and procedures. As of date, the AML/CFT assessments of 60 countries have been completed across the globe out of which 16 countries are the members of APG. It is the third mutual evaluation of Pakistan the first two were held in 2004 and 2009 respectively.

It is also clarified that the APG assessment team headed by APG’s Executive Secretary Gordon Hook held a courtesy meeting with the finance minister and discussed Pakistan’s overall AML/CFT regime. The finance minister during the meeting with the APG team assured Pakistan’s strong commitment for a robust AML/CFT regime as per international standards and highlighted Pakistan’s measures on this front. The APG team also did not share any assessment in written or verbal forms whether Pakistan will continue to remain on FATF grey list or not.

No other issues were discussed with the Finance Minister by APG delegation except the above for which a press release was also issued by the ministry on October 17.

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