ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) released a report on the wheat crisis in Sindh and claimed to have uncovered Rs10.612 billion in the inquiries of wheat scam against the Sindh Food Departments for theft of wheat Rs15.85 billion.
The bureau authorised 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 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 aproved 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 enroute 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.
The Sukkur chapter of the accountability watchdog initiated the inquiry after it received a number of complaints against officers of Food Department and others and allegations of misappropriation of wheat stock.
On Saturday, several teams conducted raids in presence of respective judicial magistrates at PRCs and found that 164,797 million tons of wheat of worth Rs5.355 billion were missing at different centres.
After the authorization of these inquires, the defaulted flour mill owners have so far paid an amount of Rs8.126 billion, out of total default amount of Rs9.750 billion.
NAB has filed four references so far been filed in Accountability Court against officers of the Food Department and mill owners for recovery of losses while remaining references will also be filed before within stipulated time.
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