PSMA Rejects Sugar Inquiry Commission’s Report


PSMA rejects Sugar Inquiry Commission’s report

The members of the association say that commission made similar mistakes as the committee did.

LAHORE: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-May 23rd, 2020) Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) rejected Sugar Inquiry Commission’s report, saying that the commission made the similar mistakes of inquiry committee.

The Association said that the same members were the part of the commission who worked with the committee.

The inquiry commission’s report investigated how the price of sugar was fixed, how exports of the commodity were faked on sales taxes and how billions of rupees were overcharged by sugar mills owners.

PSMA accused the commission distorted the facts in its report presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal government, saying that the recommendations by the PSMA were neglected when the inquiry was being conducted.

The Association said that the commission neglected the role of market forced and did not weigh in the factor of demand and supply in the report.

It said the inquiry commission does not have the adequate expertise to assuage the sugar crisis and its accounting.

The commission, it said, was also ignorant of the ground realities of the sugar sector, procurement and crushing processes.

The sugar workers said that the commission tried its best to report lower price of sugar production, adding that no business could operate as per the production model laid out by the commission.

The PSMA in the past had rejected the report by the Federal Investigation Agency as well.

In its inquiry report, the commission held that many sugar mill owners were receiving telegraphic transfers for payments for sugar sold to Afghanistan from the US and Dubai, therefore seemingly whitening money and earning Dollars at the same time.

Jahangir Tareen, Khusro Bakhtiar’s brother and Moonis Elahi were also declared as the most beneficiaries of the sugar subsidies. It also revealed that six major sugar mill groups were acting as "cartels".

The company owned by Shehbaz Sharif's family engaged in “double reporting” while company raked in additional profits of Rs1.3bn during 2017-18 and they earned Rs780 million in 2018-19.

“Tareen’s sugar mills were also found guilty of double billing and over-invoicing as well as “corporate fraud,” said Shahzad Akbar.

Talking about Economic Affairs Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, he said that his brother was the one who owned a sugar mill and he did not hold political office.

“ We are not asking Khusro Bakhtiar to resign from his post. An inquiry will be initiated against whoever is directly involved,” he further said, adding that among the mills shortlisted was Alliance Mills which was owned by the RYK Group.

Moonis Elahi had 34% ownership of the group.

“Businessmen in politics will put business first,” he added.

Fida Hussnain

Fida Hussnain is a lahore based journalist. He writes on politics, religion, social issues and climate change. He is also a research fellow at University of Gujrat.