ISLAMABAD: National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) on Monday revealed that imported urea worth Rs1.6 billion had been stolen from its storages in connivance with people on deputation in 2013 and 2014.
A parliamentary panel was informed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were investigating the issue.
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NFML has transported or handled approximately 7.5 million tons of imported urea to date. During the operations, various cases of misappropriation/shortage were detected which were forwarded to NAB and FIA for investigation, legal action and recovery of government dues.
NFML General Manager Qudratullah gave a detailed presentation to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries and Production headed by Asad Umar. Ironically, one of the persons on deputation in NFML, Mudassar Waheed Malik, was also present in the meeting.
According to Qudratullah, NFML stock misappropriated by the transporters and contractors was estimated at 38,398 tons of urea, whereas shortage at stores was calculated at 5,367.45 tons, adding up to 43,761.45 tons.
Replying to a question, he said one of the general managers who were involved in the urea scam was behind bars.
The standing committee chairman termed the ‘missing’ urea scam blatant corruption which could not be committed without support from the ministry.
He asked if any reference was sent to Industries and Production Minister Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi regarding these allegations. To this, Qudratullah replied in the negative. He also asked if any reference had been filed against those who made billions of rupees in 2009-10. Qudratullah replied that the issue was being dealt with by the FIA.
Asad Umar told the committee that in 2009-10, a federal minister and his son made billions and urged NFML to get details of their accounts.
Officials of the Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC) informed the committee that the entity’s privatisation had been delayed due to which customers were not showing any interest in the purchase of equipment. HEC manufactures new transformers by using reverse engineering which has increased the efficiency of transformers. However, the absence of regular orders from the power distribution companies is a serious concern.
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He said HEC had developed a GSM-based real time data monitoring device to monitor losses but the distribution companies were not interested in its procurement. Commenting on this, Umar said they were not buying it because it prevents corruption.
One of the officials revealed that HEC had earned substantial capital by taking orders from its key competitor.
The committee also discussed the proposed plan of Pakistan Machine Tools Factory’s (PMTF) management for turning around its performance.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2016.
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