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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is probing top brass of Department of Plant Protection (DPP), an organization of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, for alleged corruption in issuance of clearance certificates for export and import of goods and special treatment to one company on import of Methyl-Bromide registration and import for phytosanitary fumigation, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The issue of issuance of fake certificates by DPP also came under heated debate in Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, few days ago, in the presence of Commissioner Husbandry (M/o NFS&R) due to which consignments are being rejected by other countries.

Senator Danesh Kumar cited the reference of unhealthy meat consignment which was not only rejected by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but the country also banned import of meat from Pakistan.

Trade facilitation: country achieves major milestone

Such issues have also been pointed by the United States and European Union in recent months.

According to an inquiry report, on December 15, 2021, the then Prime Minister chaired the Apex Committee meeting of the Afghan Inter Ministerial Coordination Cell and took strong notice of controversy over the import of Methyl Bromide (MB) and the monopoly in this sphere. He instructed redressal of the situation and a follow up to fix responsibility for any wrongdoing that may have occurred in the past.

The Inquiry Committee headed by the then Additional Secretary, Rashid Mehmood Langrial (now Additional Secretary Incharge MoI&P), had recommended that: (i) Director General may be asked to review all the laws and rules with a view to enabling the registration of as many imports of MB as required to break the monopoly; (ii) DG may be instructed to resolve the issue of M/s Ahmad and Kamran Traders either way within 30 days from the date at which such orders are passed; (iii) there is an urgent need to simplify registration procedures to ensure competition along all stages of MB supply chain; (iv) all Directors and Deputy Directors should be removed forthwith and should not be posted in any organization that has regulatory powers with financial stakes.

They might be used in pure technical roles in organizations without significant regulatory functions ; (v) the Oganogram of DPP should be modified to include at least two directors who will lead the enforcement teams and shall not necessarily be entomologists/ scientists;(vi) formal disciplinary proceedings must be initiated against the chain of officers who cancelled various IPCs for the import of MB; and (vii) given the increasing trend in fumigation vis-à-vis total fumigation of oilseed vessels during 2021, a show cause notice be issued to DG who was posted during that period.

The sources said recommendations given by the Inquiry Committee have not been implemented by the concerned Authority due to influence of beneficiaries of this chain.

The source said, FIA had summoned Department of Plant Protection Director General Sohail Shehzad, Entomologist Muzammal and Assistant Entomologist Allah Yar on January 16, 2023 on allegations of massive corruption and other related issues.

FIA is also probing appointments in DPP made during the previous government including five Entomologists in Malir Karachi with fake domiciles and 132 employees in Multan, most of them hailing from Bahawalpur.

Senate Standing Committee on Commerce recommended that DPP should be attached to Ministry of Commerce and its function related to export and import as recently India has clubbed it with Commerce Ministry.

The sources said many efforts were made to take the DPP officials responsible for opting discriminatory attitude with one company. However, the influential officials ensured failure of all such efforts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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