Govt seeking international support against money laundering: Shahzad Akbar


ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar on Monday assured that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s commitment to rooting out corruption remains firm and irrevocable and is increasing the capabilities of institutions in the country.

Talking to a private news channel, he emphasised that foreign countries should cooperate with Pakistan to identify those Pakistanis who piled up properties worth billions of rupees abroad. “Their cooperation is also sought to bring back all the looted money,” he said.

He mentioned that the British investigation team would visit Pakistan after Christmas for the ongoing case investigation.

He further highlighted that the PTI government is also committed to extending all possible support to strengthen the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and to increase the bureau’s capacity as the government was going all-out to introduce a mechanism of checks and balances through a set of legislation to ensure fair and transparent governance.

He expressed confidence that the PTI government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, would strengthen the institutions that faced a collapse during previous government due to corruption.

“We have increased the pace to counter challenges such as money laundering and corruption in mega projects,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said that NAB is a completely independent institution and is doing a very good job to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

He also said that matters pertaining to corruption are not limited to the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) anymore as a joint investigation team (JIT) is also looking into these cases.

He further said, “We will contact governments of 26 countries where we signed an agreement to find traces of illegally transferred money.”

Taking a step forward to fulfil its promise of retrieving the ill-gotten wealth of Pakistanis in foreign countries, the government has formed a high-powered task force comprising officials of the FIA, NAB as well as intelligence agencies.

Shahzad Akbar said that a bilateral treaty is again being ratified with the British authorities which will enable the country to get the details of the bank accounts opened by Pakistani nationals. He emphasised that in Pakistan there is a need to firm up law policies as in the past no law was introduced for mutual legal assistance (MLA), adding that the law will soon be placed before the cabinet and it will be brought first through an ordinance and then presented before the parliament.

The government has finalised a broad-based MLA law to obtain evidence from foreign jurisdictions about financial crimes and mega corruption cases involving Pakistanis, he said.

He said that the PTI government is in contact with different opposition parties to ensure their support in getting the approval from parliament over the proposed legal reforms. He also said that this law is more open and will empower NAB and FIA to carry out the investigations as per the international treaties.

Akbar said that the prime minister was so concerned about the recovery of looted money that he would himself monitor the progress of the task force and other relevant departments in this regard.