Customs seizes Utility Stores sugar being smuggled to Afghanistan

KARACHI: Utility Stores Corporation (USC) has been found to have sold tons of the imported white sugar in the market instead of selling it to the under-privileged people at subsidized rates.

Customs authorities have seized 500 bags (50kg each) of white sugar, which was being smuggled to Afghanistan.

Information was passed through Collector Enforcement Peshawar Malik Kamran Khan that attempts would be made to smuggle sugar from Islamabad to Afghanistan.

Customs Squad Nowshera intercepted a truck carrying 500 bags of white sugar, and it was intended to be smuggled to Afghanistan.

The transporter of the goods could not provide any evidence proving legal import of the goods, not it was locally produced.

The official said initial investigations found that the goods had been imported by the government for sale at Utility Stores on subsidized rates. However, USC officials sold a large quantity in the black market depriving people of the cheaper commodity.

Investigations have found that at least seven trucks load of white sugar had been sold in the market by USC, and the 500 bags seized were to be smuggled to Afghanistan, not by USC itself but by the persons whom bought the goods from USC.

In view of rising sugar prices, government issued several tenders to import sugar for sale to people through Utility Stores at subsidized rates. However, the commodity remained in short supply at the stores and people were forced to buy the commodity from the open market at higher rates.

An official said the border with Afghanistan was well guarded and it was almost impossible to smuggle goods to and from Afghanistan.

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