PM trying to protect sugar culprits, says Shehbaz

PML-N president assails govt for delay in sugar crisis forensic audit

​ Our Correspondent April 26, 2020
Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday launched a broadside against Prime Minister Imran Khan for the delay in the forensic report of the commission investigating the recent sugar crisis, describing it as proof of the premier’s “admission of guilt”.

“The government cannot hide facts from people by delaying the report,” the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly said in a statement a day after the Sugar forensic commission, which was supposed to submit the report on Saturday, requested the federal government to give it three more weeks.

PM’s aide on accountability Shahzad Akbar tweeted that the federal cabinet would consider the commission’s request on Tuesday.

Forensic report on sugar crisis delayed

“The delay proves that the government stole Rs100 billion. It is trying to protect those responsible for the sugar crisis," Shehbaz maintained.

“Hiding the report won’t hide Imran Khan's crimes. The nation knows who stole wheat and sugar. There is no need for another inquiry or forensic audit,” he added.

The PML-N president said the federal government, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet and the people who approved the subsidies were responsible for the crisis.

He called for allowing his party men, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former federal minister Khurram Dastagir, to be allowed to appear before the inquiry commission to present information so that the matter could be cleared.

On April 4, the prime minister had ordered making the reports of the sugar and wheat crises public.

Former PM wants to appear before sugar crisis probe body

He directed the committee on sugar to conduct a forensic analysis of its findings and pledged not to spare those found guilty of creating and profiting off the crises after he received the report on April 25.

Earlier, PM Imran had formed two high-powered committees headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Wajid Zia to probe into circumstances that led to the wheat and flour controversy and the reasons behind the increase in sugar prices in the country.

Shocking as it may seem, the leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were among those who benefited the most from the sugar crisis in the country.

According to the report, PTI former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and a brother of ex-minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar were the major beneficiaries of the sugar crisis.

As per the findings of the report, the companies owned and controlled by Jahangir Khan Tareen (JDW) exported 17.24% of its total production and availed 22.71% of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs561 million.

The companies owned and controlled by Makhdum Omer Sheryar – a relative of Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar – (RYK Group) had exported 31.17% of its total production and availed 18.31% of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs452 million.

Surprisingly, the committee had found that the Punjab government was providing subsidy for the export of sugar at a time when the price of the commodity was increasing in the domestic market.

Out of 0.762 million tonnes of sugar exported, 0.474 million tonnes (62%) was exported before the withdrawal of subsidy, while the remaining 38% was exported after the withdrawal.

It was also stated in the report that Rs3 billion were allocated by the Punjab government for the subsidy from January 2019 onwards but Rs2.47 billion were utilised from January 1 to May 24 last year.

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