LAHORE: The sugar inquiry report is a charge sheet against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar said Saturday.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, SAPM Akbar said that Prime Minster Imran Khan gave permission for the export of the commodity not for the subsidy.
“There was ample sugar stock in the country when the export was allowed,” Akbar said and added the price was high in the international market at that time.
He said that the sugar inquiry report was made public as soon as it was received from the commission.
“I will prove whatever Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said was a white lie and they [opposition leaders] are misleading the nation about the report, which is a landmark development.”
Abbasi, earlier in the day, had accused the government of supporting sugar barons and said: “[PM] Imran, [former finance minister] Asad Umar, and [Chief Minister Punjab] Usman Buzdar are the real culprits behind the sugar scam.”
“The PTI government seems to be getting swept away with this sugar issue,” he had remarked.
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Reacting to Abbasi’s criticism, Akbar stated that for the first time ministers had appeared before an inquiry commission and testified.
Turning his guns towards the former prime minister, the premier’s aide said that the inquiry report has “exposed Abbasi” who doled out Rs20 billion subsidy to the sugar mills owners on a 24-hour notice due to Salman Shahbaz.
“Abbasi failed to provide any document or give a satisfactory reply to the panel’s questions.”
PM’s aide on accountability said that 50% of the sugar cane procured during the year 2017-19 was not declared nor the sugar produced from it was shown in the papers.
“Business was done on kachi parchi in Al Arabia Mills [owned by Shahbaz Sharif’s sons],” he said.
Akbar also called for a financial audit of other cartels “sucking people’s blood” in the country.
“The forensic report has discussed all the mills,” he said.
“Farmers and consumers are in bad condition while the mills’ owners are flourishing.”
Akbar said that the government will introduce a mechanism under which the sugar price will be brought down.