NAB to investigate sugar, wheat crisis

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Tuesday gave the green signal to start an investigation into the wheat and sugar scandal.

According to a statement, the approval was given by the NAB chairman in a meeting of the executive board held in Islamabad today.

The chairman has directed the Bureau to thoroughly investigate the wheat and sugar scandal. 

“NAB will thoroughly investigate the scandal worth billions of rupees. Smuggling, an increase of prices and wheat and sugar subsidies will also be investigated,” the statement said.

The statement added that the executive board also gave the approval to close the inquiry against former attorney general Malik Qayyum due to a lack of evidence along with the closure of inquiry against the officers and staff of the Privatization Commission and the managing committee of the Interior Employees Housing Society.

The executive board also gave approval for two inquires, an investigation into the mega corruption against Pakistan Petroleum and an inquiry into the Capital Development Authority private housing society.

Top PTI members benefitted from sugar crisis: FIA 

A report by the Federal Investigation Agency released on April 4 claimed that top Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf members were among those who gained from the recent sugar crisis in the country. An investigation into the crisis had been ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan in February.

Among the people named in the FIA report were Jahangir Tareen and a brother of Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar.

Tareen was said by the report to have benefitted the most from the sugar crisis followed by Bakhtiar’s brother.

The report also claims that companies belonging to Moonis Elahi — an ally of the party — also profited from the sugar crisis. Elahi is Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s son and a key member of the PML-Q.

The document does not mention under whose influence the Punjab government issued subsidies to sugar mills or why the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) approved the decision to export sugar.

‘Lack of planning led to wheat crisis’

The prime minister was also sent the investigation report on the wheat crisis, compiled by a three-member bench headed by Wajid Zia. As per the report, the crisis originated due to poor planning by the centre and provincial governments.

The report states that the Punjab Food Department was unable to control flour mills and started collecting wheat after a delay of 20-22 days.

It further mentioned that the food department failed to come up with a process for the demand and supply of the product. The report claimed that did not take decisions as the situation evolved.

Former food secretary Naseem Sadiq and ex-food director Zafar Iqbal have been blamed in the report for failing to handle the wheat crisis. Furthermore, the report claims that Punjab food minister Samiullah Chaudhry did not take the measures necessitated by the situation.