According to data compiled by the Cabinet Division this month, the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), which was established by former Prime Minister Imran Khan to bring looted money from other nations back to Pakistan, helped collect Rs426.4 billion during the last three years.
According to the Cabinet Division’s yearbook for 2020-21, which was prepared in May 2022, well over a month after Shehbaz Sharif took over as Prime Minister, over Rs334 billion was recovered in the past fiscal year alone.
In September 2018, the ARU was established to “provide a forum” for law enforcement agencies, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), and provincial anti-corruption establishments (ACEs) to “trace new cases and track all cases.”
“Eventually, the cash will be recovered either through taxation, plea bargaining, or direct recovery/repatriation to the government exchequer,” the institutions and agencies said.
According to papers, NAB recovered Rs389.5 billion over the last three years “under the supervision and aid of ARU.” According to the Cabinet Division yearbook, it was a “dramatic increase” over the total Rs295.6 billion recovered in the previous 17 years (from 2000 to 2017).
Meanwhile, the FIA has recovered Rs6.4 billion in the last three years, with Rs3.6 billion in 2020.
According to the records, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) established liabilities and made recoveries that were “off the charts” in light of several inquiry panels set up by the federal government.
In FY21, the revenue agency recovered Rs5.6 billion in taxes on overseas assets, including properties in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, as well as assets identified in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers.
According to the records, the ARU was also directly responsible for Rs30 billion in recoveries.
They went on to say that the Financial Monitoring Unit had been re-energized to guarantee that suspicious transactions were reported to law enforcement agencies in a timely way, allowing them to combat money laundering in compliance with their national laws.
“The Assets Recovery Unit continues to work with the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and other foreign governments to enter into legal instruments and memorandums of understanding in order to repatriate illegally acquired offshore assets to Pakistan.”