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Mehboob, Samiullah involved in wheat crisis, report reveals

The Business Report
LAHORE: An investigative report compiled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the country’s wheat crisis has come out; revealing that former federal minister for food security Sahabzada Mehboob Sultan was involved in the wheat crisis.
The report also implicates Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chowdhury for creating the wheat crisis, saying that the Food Security and Research Centre kept the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet unaware of the wheat procurement situation. The report says that the wheat and flour crisis in the country was created in conviennace with the Flour Mills Association.
The report further revealed that on December 13, 2019, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) imposed a fine Rs 75 million on the flour mills, which the association challenged in the court. The admitted the fact that the Competition Commission of Pakistan investigation procedure is very slow, citing the example of example of the Competition Commission of Pakistan imposing Rs 27 billion fine and recovering only Rs 33.03 million only in 13 years of its working.
The report further stated that Sindh province did not purchase the wheat, whereas Punjab delayed the purchase of wheat in the province. Former federal minister for food security Sahabzada Mehboob Sultan also failed to satisfy the ECC of the cabinet about the wheat situation in the country.
The report also pointed out the fact that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa depends on its wheat need on the Punjab province. It also put the blame of Punjab Food Director regarding delay in the purchase of wheat in the province, saying the then Secretary and Director Food Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was also equally responsible for the wheat crisis.
PM directs forensic analysis on sugar
The reports of the inquiry committees tasked to probe sugar and wheat crises in the country have been made public while the prime minister has directed forensic analysis to further expand findings on the subject of sugar.
The prime minister had constituted two high-powered committees under Director General Federal Investigation Agency and comprising a senior officer of Intelligence Bureau and DG Anti Corruption Establishment Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of the said commodities.
After the formation of the said committees, the prime minister had repeatedly resolved to expose and penalize those found responsible for the sugar and wheat crises to avoid the recurrence of such acts. On submission of Inquiry reports from both the committees, certain additional questions were also referred to the bodies seeking further clarifications. The committees had furnished separate main and supplementary reports to address the further queries raised by the Prime Minister House.
The committee on wheat crisis comprised DG FIA Wajid Zia, Deputy DG IB Mubarak Zeb and DG Anti Corruption Punjab Muhammad Gohar Nafees.
The committee on the subject of sugar consisted of DG FIA Wajid Zia, Deputy DG IB Ahmad Kamal and DG Anti Corruption Establishment Punjab Muhammad Goher Nafees.
The committees had held series of meetings with all the stakeholders including the federal ministries, FBR, mills associations and relevant provincial departments. In pursuance of PTI and PM’s belief on transparency and accountability as basic ingredients of democracy and good governance, the PM decided to make both the reports and additional answers public. However, in continuation of probe being carried out by the inquiry committee on sugar prices, the federal govt through a cabinet decision expanded the scope of said body to an Inquiry Commission by conferring powers given under The Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act 2017.

The commission is further carrying out forensic analysis to expand on the findings of the inquiry committee. The commission is due to complete its task on 25th April, 2020.
After the commission finalizes its report, its findings will also be made public and any corrective and/or punitive measures required or recommended will be taken by the federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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