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ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Sindh, has reportedly, disregarded a letter of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi, in which the former was barred from touching the tractor subsidy scheme which is already under investigation in NAB, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Director General, ACE, in a letter, has asked the firm which booked and delivered tractors to the successful growers under Tractor Subsidy Scheme phase-III to appear before the investigation officer in Matirai for further questioning.

On June 30, 2021, NAB Rawalpindi, in a letter drew the attention of Chairman ACE, Sindh towards the Section 18(d) of NAO, 1999, which reads as follows:- (i) the responsibility for inquiry into and investigation of an offence alleged to have been committed under this Ordinance shall rest on the NAB to the exclusion of any other agency or authority, unless any such agency or authority is required to do so by the Chairman NAB or by an officer of the NAB duly authorized by him.

The NAB Rawalpindi also sought details and scope of the present probe in order to proceed further under the relevant provision of law.

On July 16, 2021, the Accountability Court (AC) hearing multi-billion fake bank accounts extended judicial remand of former Executive Engineer Agriculture Department Sindh, Mumtaz Ali Abbasi, who has been accused of committing misappropriation in Sindh Tractor subsidy scheme till July 26 on the request of NAB.

The accused was allegedly involved in issuing “fake invoice” of tractors in the name of farmers, the prosecutor contended.

NAB has so far arrested four accused in the same case - Mumtaz Ali, Tara Chandh, Sarwar Bhatti and Altaf Chachar. Accused Ghulam Hussain has reached a plea bargain of Rs 50 million with NAB.

According to NAB, the arrested Dealer Ghulam Sarwar illegally received more than 450x tractors (brand: - IMT) whereas the accused Tara Chand received more than 250x tractors (Brand: - IMT), from the agriculture department in “connivance” with its officials under the names of fake farmers and sold the tractors in open market at a profit and causing loss of approximately Rs.112.5 million and Rs.62.5 million to the national exchequer, respectively. The subsidy granted for various tractors scheme is in billions and investigation is in progress to avail further evidence in the case.

An investigation was authorized on the directions of Supreme Court in fake accounts cases by the competent authority on September 18, 2020 under the NAB 1999 law and is under progress in NAB Rawalpindi office.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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