FIA Starts Probe into Alleged Black-Marketing of Flour and Sugar by Utility Stores Corporation

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has started an investigation against the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) with regard to alleged black-marketing of flour and sugar with the connivance of flour mills.

Sources told ProPakistani that FIA Quetta served a notice on the Managing Director USC, asking him to produce the relevant record in the inquiry. Inspector FIR Anti-Corruption Circle, Balochistan Zone Quetta, Abdul Hameed Qureshi has been empowered under Section 5(2) of FIA Act-1947 and engaged in conducting Inquiry No 21/2021 regarding black-marketing of flour and sugar by the staff of USC with active connivance of the flour mills.

A letter was moved to the Manager (W&WF) USC Head Office, Islamabad, to provide a contract/agreement date signed between USC and PASSCO for the lifting of wheat for Quetta Zone since January 2019 to date. Sources said a number of officers of Accounts cadre (BS-16) were allegedly appointed at the posts of Regional Managers/Zonal Managers, which were the posts of Management cadre, as the present Zonal Head USC Quetta and other Regional Managers were also serving in the same nature.

It has also been alleged that when the present Zonal Manager of USC Quetta Zone was working as an Accounts Officer in USC Sibi Region, he pointed out a loss of Rs. 5.2 million in the audit report during his tenure of posting. Meanwhile, it transpired that the said loss was more than Rs. 9.2 million and was accorded with the active connivance of the incumbent Zonal Manager of USC Quetta Zone and other store in charge of Sibi Region who concealed the loss in the shadow of theft/robbery.

An Accounts Officer of Sibi Region also highlighted that the said loss was known to the then Regional Manager USC Sibi Region, under intimation to the audit team of USC Head Office, Islamabad, as well as Zonal Manager USC Quetta Zone vide letter No USC/ESTT/SIBI/2020-525 dated: 30.09.2020, but no any action was taken by the authority.

In this connection, MD USC has been requested to look into the matter personally and direct the concerned to furnish a complete detail of the tender documentation through which the aforementioned transport company had been carrying out the system of centralized supply chain management across the country for one uniform rate of flour in each province since January 2019.

In addition, FIA has also directed USC to send attested photocopies of contracts/agreements signed between PASSCO and USC Quetta Zone, besides a copy of rule/SOP through which Accounts Officers can work on the posts of Zonal Managers/Regional Managers or otherwise.

Moreover, a complete list of those officers who are appointed/promoted at the post of Zonal Managers/Regional Managers of USC Quetta Zone and the audit report of USC Sibi Region conducted during 2008 to 2010 along with internal audit has also been sought. Sources said that a senior official of USC presented before the inquiry officer last week.

The scribe approached USC for comments on this matter but no reply was received till the filing of the story.