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High-powered 11-member FIA team formed to investigate sugar scandal

ISLAMABAD          –       The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday formed an 11-member team to launch investigations into the sugar scandal on the basis of the forensic audit report of sugar inquiry commission.

FIA Director of Islamabad Zone Dr Moeen Masood will head the investigation team that has been formed on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.  

The investigation team will probe alleged corporate fraud in the sugar scandal and the issue of alleged “dubious” export of the commodity to Afghanistan by the sugar mills. 

The investigation team will get assistance from Federal Board of Revenue, Customs Department, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to hold the probe.

On June 23, the federal cabinet had approved an action plan against the sugar mafia in the light of report of sugar inquiry commission.  

The action plan asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and SECP to probe corporate fraud and the export of sugar by the millers. 

Earlier this week, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar had written letters to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), and Chief Secretaries of three provinces asking them to launch a crackdown against the sugar barons in the light of cabinet decision.  

Akbar had taken this step after PM Imran Khan issued directions to launch a crackdown against sugar mafia and those who have been getting “unlawful” subsidies from the government and are involved in skyrocketing prices of the commodity in the market. 

He in a separate letter asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an audit of all sugar mills across the country to investigate matters of dubious transactions and tax evasion. 

A letter had also been sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for fixing responsibility on those who have been held guilty by the sugar commission report.

The report of sugar inquiry commission was made public in May this year which named key political figures, mostly from government, for their alleged involvement in sugar scandal. They included the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), Monis Elahi, a brother of sitting federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar, and sons of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif. 

The report also suggested criminal proceedings against those involved in the scam. 

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