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NAB forms CIT to probe sugar subsidy scam

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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has set up a combined investigation team (CIT) of experts to probe the sugar scam through which a massive subsidy was given to mill owners and others on exports.
A NAB spokesman, in a statement, said that the CIT had been constituted in a meeting chaired by Chairman NAB Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal after reviewing the Sugar Commission report in detail.
The CIT has been mandated to conduct the investigations in an impartial, independent, and transparent manner, he said.
The CIT is set to obtain details about the subsidy from provinces, financial and audit reports of relevant companies, the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, among other institutions, to probe the scam.
The CIT consists of two investigation officers, financial experts, legal consultants, sugar industry investigation experts, and relevant directors.
Director-General NAB Rawalpindi, Irfan Naeem Mangi, will supervise the investigations, whereas the chairman, deputy chairman, prosecutor general accountability, and DG operations will jointly review the report of the CIT every month.
The chairman NAB has directed to complete the sugar subsidy investigations “professionally” by providing “ample opportunity to individuals and departments and take action against those, who received a subsidy on sugar illegally”.
Deputy Chairman NAB Hussain Asghar, Prosecutor General Syed Asghar Haider, DG Operations Zahir Shah, DG NAB Rawalpindi Mangi, and other senior officers attended the meeting.
The Sugar Inquiry Commission report had laid bare some startling revelations about how the price of sugar is fixed, how exports of the commodity are faked to avail rebates on sales taxes, and how billions of rupees are overcharged by sugar mills owners.
The report mentioned in depth how the amount of sugar exported to Afghanistan is routinely inflated to show as if 75 tonnes of the commodity were being exported per truck.
However, this is barely possible, given that the maximum capacity of a truck, even when overloaded, does not exceed 30 tonnes.
The scam also seemingly has another purpose: laundering money. If sugar is being exported to Afghanistan, the payment should also be coming in from the same country.
There are many ways the sugar mafia can benefit from overstating exports of the commodity to Afghanistan. For one, billions of rupees in subsidy are received from the government for the exports. Secondly, the higher the exports showed on paper, the higher the sales tax rebate a sugar mill owner can claim. – TLTP