Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the Sindh government to impose heavy fines on sugar mill owners for delaying sugarcane crushing that causes problems for farmers, reported a local newspaper.
The prime minister expressed this while chairing a meeting on the wheat and sugar situation in the market. He ordered stern action against those involved in any wrongdoing in connection with sugar and wheat.
The prime minister was informed that the Punjab government had recently passed a law under which the fine for delaying crushing of sugarcane crop had been increased up to Rs 5 million per day, to which he responded with, “I want a similar penalty to be fixed by Sindh government for the offense”.
He was also told that the departments concerned had started taking action against sugar barons involved in recent sugar scam in the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have been asked to probe into the scam through different angles and aspects.
A forensic audit report of the sugar inquiry commission, which was made public on May 21 some two months after the FIA submitted a report of investigations into the 2019 sugar scam, had exposed over Rs. 150 billion fraud in production, sale, and export of the commodity every year by sugar barons, including the former PTI politician Jahangir Tareen, brother of federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Monis Elahi a leader of PTI ally PML-Q, and the sons of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif.
The report revealed how the sugar cartel comprising 88 mills, in collaboration with the CCP, FBR, Sugar Advisory Board, and other government departments, cheated sugarcane growers and later consumers from the start of procurement of sugarcane, manufacturing of sugar, sale in the local market and billions of rupees’ tax evasion. The report also said that the groups were also major beneficiaries of Rs. 29 billion federal export subsidies since 2015.