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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has constituted an 11-member team to probe sugar exports to Afghanistan based on the findings of the Sugar Inquiry Commission report.

The team will be headed by Director FIA Islamabad Zone, Dr Moeen Masood and will include Customs, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) representatives. The team will investigate the matter of illegally-exporting sugar to Afghanistan, while it will also find evidence regarding money laundering.

The government on July 23rd had directed the FBR, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the FIA to launch an investigation into sugars mills based on the Sugar Inquiry Commission report. The federal government had also ordered that a report on the investigation should be submitted within 90 days.

The report has questioned how 75 tons commodity was being exported to Afghanistan in one truck as it has maximum loading capacity including overload 30 tons. Money laundering is also a part of the sugar inquiry commission report as it has questioned the elements involved in exporting sugar to Afghanistan, should have received the payment also from the same country, but the exporters were receiving it from other countries.

However, it was found by the commission that many sugar mill owners were receiving telegraphic transfers for payments for sugar sold to Afghanistan from the US and Dubai, therefore, seemingly whitening money and earning dollars at the same time.

Another important finding highlighted in the report was that sugar mills paid an estimated Rs22bn in taxes to the government of Pakistan, but out of that total amount, Rs12bn was reclaimed in rebates. Hence, the net contribution was close to around Rs10 billion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020