PM’s responsibility helper claims Rs254m stolen in 2018 wheat endowmen

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Friday claimed that 149 flour mills tasked to provide flour to people on subsidised rates misappropriated nearly Rs254 million from the 2018 Ramzan Package.

Addressing a press conference, the premier’s aide said that out of Rs254 million, a sum of Rs 190 million had been recovered, while action was being taken against 156 officials of the food department involved.

“The anti-corruption department has started criminal proceedings against 70 officials of the food department, who were directly involved in misappropriation of wheat subsidy,” Akbar said.

A bag of 20kg flour is available at Rs860 due to strict measures taken, Akbar said.

The SAPM said that in case of complaints, the helpline of the Punjab government could be contacted.

Akbar said that the Supreme Court had struck down a stay order by the Sindh High Court. “SC had directed the high courts to decide pending petitions relating to sugar commission within three weeks period.”

Over 100 stay orders regarding sugar mills are pending in different courts since the last 11 years, he said, adding that the government had made public the sugar inquiry commission report for the first time in history.

On receiving the sugar inquiry report, he said the federal cabinet had approved a strategy including a roadmap of taking punitive action, introducing reforms, and rationalising the price of sugar.

A committee headed by Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar has been constituted to finalise the reforms in sugar policy and rationalise prices of sugar, Akbar informed.

“Provincial governments, the Competition Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have been directed to investigate violations by sugar mills as per their rules and report within 90 days,” he said.

A reference has been sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate the misappropriation in subsidies given to sugar mills according to the NAB ordinance 1999, Akbar said.

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