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The newly created Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sought canine/cash dogs, scanners and face detectors at the entry and exit points of country for currency detection and deterrence at border areas.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Thursday that the directorate has shared a plan with the Board for effective working against currency smuggling at borders and also made a formal request to the Board in this regard.

The FBR has created a new Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM) for sharing of currency seizure cases with law enforcement agencies and institution of money laundering cases emanating from suspicious banking transactions. This has been done under the effective steps taken by FBR Customs Operations to curb money laundering.

According to the Directorate of CBCM, training for officers and officials is essential. Accordingly, separate trainings for supervisory officers (additional collectors/deputy collectors/assistant collectors) and field officers (superintends, inspectors and intelligence officers) in the field of cash/gold smuggling, Trade-Based Money Laundering (TBML) and related financial investigations are required.

The directorate stated that secondly the provision of canine/cash dogs at the entry/exit points of the country is also required not only for currency detection but also to create strong deterrence. Thirdly, state-of-the-art equipment like scanners, face detectors, etc, are essential for effective monitoring.

A new Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM), has recently been established under Directorate General (I & I-Customs), through Customs General Order (CGO) 04/2019 dated 06.05.2019 which has defined its charter and scope of functions such as, analysis and profiling of currency seizures/declarations, suspected banking transactions, maintenance of seizure database and sharing of currency seizure cases with other LEAs, institution of money laundering cases emanating from suspicious banking transactions and investigation and prosecution of cases under AML Act, 2010, Customs Act, 1969 and CrPC.

Under the said order, the guidelines have also been provided to the investigation officers for improving investigations such as investigation of accused/arrested person(s) association with any religious/ political/ social organization or group(s), travel history, past criminal record, professional history, etc, along with the motive/linkages of each currency smuggling case with any of the associated offence, and identification of involvement of any foreign networks other than trans-national terrorist networks in the seizures data. The seizing agency (MCC or Regional Directorate) also urged to investigate foreign linkages of the investigation at hand through Chief (International Customs)-FBR, investigation of the source of funding for cash smuggling and the end user of the smuggling proceeds.

In addition, an office order 01/2019 dated 10.04.2019 has been issued, providing a proper mechanism for investigating officers of seizing agency to conduct initial probe of terror financing (TF) linkages in all currency seizures, and sharing it with the relevant LEA, through Directorate of CBCM.

At land border customs stations, Collector of Customs are coordinating with the relevant LEAs and intelligence agencies for information/intelligence sharing and coordinated operations for countering illicit currency movement. Further, joint control rooms have been established at international airports, manned jointly by Customs, ASF, ANF and FIA personnel.

Ongoing initiatives of Pakistan Customs include further restructuring of enforcement formations on the basis of ground demands, introduction of Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) at the international airports, and establishing a National Targeting Centre, which shall serve as an integrated database of all LEAs working against the menace of smuggling. With these initiatives, Pakistan Customs is optimistic of ridding Pakistan economy of the malaise of currency smuggling, and the ancillary ills of TBML, black economy, and tax evasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020