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PAC panel seeks report over Rs2b dues towards sugar mills


ISLAMABAD:

A sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit an inquiry report over the non-payment of more than Rs2 billion dues by the sugar mills and supply of substandard sugar to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

The panel also sought a report from the anti-corruption watchdog over the purchase of a building by the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) in Dubai and not giving it on rent for several years.

A sub-committee of the PAC met under the chairpersonship of convener Munaza Hassan in the Parliament House.

The meeting reviewed the audit reservations of Ministry of Commerce for the year 2014-15.

The audit officials informed the participants of the meeting that six sugar mills owed more than Rs2.05 billion to the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) since 2014 and added that this amount had not been recovered.

They said that the TCP had given more than Rs740.68 million to three sugar mills for the purchase of sugar but these entities instead of supplying the commodity according to the tender tried to deliver inferior quality of it.

The panel was told that the TCP had refused to accept the inferior quality of sugar and the amount in this regard had still not been recovered from the sugar mills.

The TCP officials noted that Haq Bahu, Makkah and Abdullah Ghazi sugar mills had been given more than Rs900.27 million for the supply of sugar to the USC after the placement of order.

They further maintained that these sugar mills had not provided 15,145 metric tonnes of the commodity as per the order and the sugar that these mills were providing was substandard.

These sugar mills owe an amount exceeding Rs740.68 million and the TCP had also confiscated their performance guarantee and forwarded the matter to the NAB.

The committee convener remarked that the issue regarding the supply of substandard sugar should be investigated.

On being inquired whether these sugar mills had been blacklisted, the officials said that action had been taken against nine sugar mills of which a final notice was being issued to six mills and they were being blacklisted.

The committee directed the NAB officials to complete the inquiry on the issue and asked the TCP legal team to present the case in the court in a pertinent manner postponed the matter.

The audit officials informed the panel that the NICL had purchased a building in 2009 in Dubai without clearing the title.

The building had been bought for the purpose of renting it out but had still been vacant.

Committee convener Munaza Hassan questioned why was this investment made in Dubai and added that it had not been transferred in the name for nine years.

She said it was an investment of Rs1.6 billion which should have been made in the country.

The panel sought a report from the anti-corruption watchdog over the issue.



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