Sindh CM refused to appear before a commission led by the FIA.
ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar appeared on Wednesday before the commission investigated the sugar crisis in the country during a covert visit to the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency and recorded his statement, sources told The Express Tribune.
The chief minister was brought to the FIA headquarters from the rear entrance instead of the front gate.
The source said the FIA authorities did their best to maintain the confidentiality of visits from the media.
Responding to a commission question led by FIA Director General Wajid Zia, Buzdar expressed his opinion about the subsidies given for sugar exports.
The Punjab chief minister was also asked about the removal of the secretary of the food department and other officials.
The source said Buzdar was unable to respond to several questions.
A very stupid security arrangement was made for the visit of the chief minister of Punjab by provincial security forces as well as federal police.
The service road behind the FIA headquarters is closed to traffic for around 45 minutes. Buzdar was then escorted back to the Punjab House.
However, unlike his Punjab counterpart, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has refused to appear before the commission.
Advocate general Sindh wrote a letter to the director general of the FIA informing him that the commission could not summon the chief minister with his own terms of reference.
Calling the chief minister violated Part 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017, he added.
The director general of the FIA had written a letter to Shah on May 11 asking him to appear before the commission at the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad on May 13.
The chief minister of Sindh was told in the letter that the commission wanted to ask some questions about the additional subsidies given to sugar mills in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
On Tuesday, Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar also appeared before the commission and responded to his question about the decision of the Economic Coordinating Committee (ECC) to allow sweetener exports even though there was no excess stock.
Last month, the government went public with the findings of an inquiry committee tasked with investigating the sugar crisis.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised not to forgive those found guilty of creating and profiting from the sugar and wheat crisis as soon as he receives a detailed forensic report from the commission’s initial findings on April 25. Then, the commission was given three more weeks to submit the report.
The prime minister has formed two high-powered committees led by the director general of the FIA and consists of a senior intelligence officer and director general of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Formation to investigate the causes behind the wheat and sugar crisis and rising prices. of two commodities.
In the 32-page report, the sugar price increase committee said the decision of the PTI government to allow sugar exports was unreasonable because it caused a price increase of 30%.
“Sugar exporters make a profit in two ways: first they can get subsidies and second, they benefit from rising sugar prices in the local market,” according to the inquiry committee.
The report revealed that PTI’s former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and former national food security minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar were among the main beneficiaries.
The two PTI supporters left with subsidies of Rs 1.03 billion for sugar exports, paid from taxpayers’ money, which is equivalent to 41% of the total subsidy paid by the Punjab government to sugar barons, according to the report.
“Sugar factory owners who get maximum subsidies have political influence and influence in decision making and they try to get maximum benefits in a very limited time,” the report said.
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