ACE claims to recover Rs80 million in Sindh wheat scam

ECC allocated 500,000MT imported wheat to meet the requirement. Source: FILE/Online.

KARACHI: The officials of the Anti-Corruption Establishment has (ACE)-Sindh has claimed to have recovered Rs 80 million in the wheat scam.

According to officials of the Anti-Corruption Establishment, Larkana Food Supervisor Manthar Ali Noorani on Saturday (today) voluntarily returned Rs 80 million to ACE Sindh. The accused had stolen 34,000 wheat sacks worth over Rs80 million and was facing an investigation.

Meanwhile, Sindh Anti-Corruption Deputy Director confirmed the development and said that the accused submitted a cheque worth Rs80 million to the district food controller, adding that the accused returned the embezzled funds, however, he will face legal action.

Earlier, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had released a report on the wheat crisis in Sindh and claimed to have uncovered Rs10.612 billion in the inquiries of wheat scams against the Sindh Food Departments for theft of wheat Rs15.85 billion.

The bureau authorized nine inquiries into nine Provisional Reserve Centres in the province. The report said the anti-graft watchdog has already recovered Rs10 billion from flour mill owners and department officials involved in the scam.

According to NAB, mill owners had procured wheat worth Rs9.75 billion on three-month credit from the department but had not paid for it even after three years. The recovery amount includes Rs2 billion in plea bargains and Rs8 billion from mill owners in the wake of the inquiries. The plea bargain applications have been approved by Accountability Court, Sukkur.

NAB had approved inquiries into nine Provisional Reserve Centres in the province including in Sukkur, Nawabshah and Larkana. The report revealed that wheat worth Rs5.35 billion went missing from these nine districts while Rs74 million worth of wheat vanished while en-route to Karachi.

The report stated that the food department understated the scam and admitted to embezzlement of Rs4 billion. NAB officers found that officials were involved when it probed which mill owners owed the food department. Despite these recoveries, a gap of Rs5.14 billion has yet to be recovered, according to the report.

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