MCC Peshawar books Prime Minister’s relatives, other influential in sugar export subsidy fraud
KARACHI: The Customs Collectorate Peshawar has lodged four FIRs against highly influential persons for their involvement in the sugar export subsidy scam. They all evaded duty/taxes and fraudulently availed huge amount of export subsidy in respect of fake exports of sugar to Afghanistan. These FIRs include two against Chaudry Sugar Mill owned by the relatives of Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif; one against Thal Sugar Mill reported to be owned by PTI’s leader Jehangir Tareen and one against Ashraf Industries of former PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf. According to FIR’s, Chaudry Sugar Mills availed export subsidy to the tune of $58,320; Thal Sugar Mills availed export subsidy of $14,400 and Ashraf Industries availed export subsidy of $45,360 on sugar exports to Afghanistan. This sugar was never exported to Afghanistan. According to details, Assistant Collector Custom Station Torkham on receipt of information about export subsidy fraud case, constituted an audit team. The audit team retrieved data from PRAL pertaining to the export of Sugar for cross verification of the exports with manual record maintained by the Customs staff at Torkham. The team upon scrutiny found that Goods Declaration (GDs) were available in the manual record but found tampered with in the system. It was noted in the FIR that the exporters got the data tampered in PRAL system with the connivance of PRAL staff. The act of the exporters and clearing agents amounts to fiscal fraud as the accused have not made the actual export whereby besides depriving the state of foreign exchange, have also caused loss to the revenues of the state in terms of EDS ( Export Development Surcharge) withholding tax and sales tax. The exporter also evaded Federal Excise Duty. The fraud aimed at availing huge amount of subsidy of inland freight of Rs2.0 per Kilogram and cash subsidy on export of Sugar at the rate of Rs8.0 per kilogram allowed on export of Sugar as per decision by Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC), the FIR said. Custom sources are terming the registration of first ever FIR in fake Sugar export case to be tip of an iceberg and maintained that stage is now set for unearthing subsidy fraud cases worth billions of rupees involving sugar millers from Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa. Sources said the Customs authorities have arrested several PRAL officials including Nawab Ali Shah, Rahim Khan, Faizullah and Mudassir. These officials cracked the system for the manipulation. The officers who pursued this case and despite all the pressure lodged the FIRs include Qurban Ali Khan Collector MCC Peshawar, Additional Collector Aftab Haider, Deputy Collector Junaid Mehmood and Investigation Officer Nazim Ali Shah.