KARACHI: Launching a crackdown on hawala / hundi and unauthorized exchange transactions, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has carried out attacks on Saddar, arrested two people and confiscated large amounts of money including foreign currency and gold, officials and sources said on Saturday.
Karachi FIA Director Munir Ahmed Shaikh told Dawn on Saturday that in accordance with directives to carry out a campaign against illegal hawala / hawala / money transfer activities by the FIA director general, an attack was carried out in an office located on the second floor of Sara Center, Jalan Raja Ghazanfar Ali in Saddar.
Two people, identified as Zain and Adnan, were arrested, he said, adding that they were suspected of being involved in sending “illegal money transfers abroad under the guise of selling gold”.
The agency claims to have seized more than Rs69m, foreign currency and 1.5kg gold
Speaking about their modus operandi, he added that those detained received payments in Dubai’s exchange account at the UAE dirham.
He said that the same thing was later sold to Pakistani hawala agents but they were given the amount in dirhams in Dubai.
An equivalent amount of Pakistani rupees is obtained from hawala agents in Pakistan.
The FIA is empowered by amendments in Fera
The official believes that this monetary transaction is illegal and illegitimate and contradicts the provisions of the country’s Foreign Currency Regulations (Fera).
During the raid, the FIA team recovered / confiscated a cell phone containing WhatsApp messages to buy UAE dirhams from people in Pakistan, and then sold the amount where deliveries were given in Dubai in exchange for Pakistani rupees obtained in Pakistan.
The raid also recovered Rs69.6 million, 5,000 Omani riyals, 7,000 UAE dirhams, US $ 100 and 1.5 kilograms of gold.
FIA sources said that the attack on hawala / hundi agents in Saddar was part of a crackdown throughout the country after an amendment in Fera was introduced by the current government in February this year.
The amendment not only increased the penalties for illegal money transactions like that but also empowered the FIA to directly find out without interference from the State Bank of Pakistan.
FIA sources said that prior to these amendments in the relevant laws, written SBP complaints were mandatory for the FIA to initiate legal action against these agents.
Published in Dawn, 12 July 2020
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