Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) has transferred the services of General Manager, Marketing National Fertiliser Marketing Limited (NFML), Fakhar Cheema (an officer of Accounts Group), aimed at “cleansing the organisation” from officials of bad repute, official sources told Business Recorder.
“After a number of stories had appeared in Business Recorder on corruption in NFML, Minister for Industries and Production, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, took strong notice of officials involved in imported urea dumping and overcharging farmers under the guise of paying it to the Minister and Secretary,” the sources added. A couple of days ago, Pakistan Kissan Itehad – a body of farmers – blocked roads in Okara against malpractices in supply of urea and in NFML. According to the information provided to the Minister, stores incharge are involved in three to four kilogram theft per bag of urea earning billions of rupees at the cost of agriculture and small growers/farmers.
NFML has given the charge of General Manager Marketing to Qudrat Ullah for the time being. The appointment of new Manager Director NFML is also on the cards. The sources said Secretary Industries and Production, Shafqat Naghmi, gave approval to surrender Fakhar Cheema after seeking approval from the Minister who is in London on a private visit. When contacted, Fakhar Cheema said he is unaware of this development as he is in his native town.
In reply to a question, the sources said, the Minister has already suspended five NFML stores incharge on charges of corruption and inquiries against them are in progress in the Ministry. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is also investigating NFML urea scam and the agency has recovered Rs 12 million so far from responsible officials and private parties through a voluntary return mechanism.
NAB investigation team recovered a total of 7809 underweight urea bags from godowns. There are confirmed reports that NFML officials stationed at stores mix sand, powder and mud in each bag of urea, causing a colossal loss to the national economy. Stores incharge are also involved in dumping urea in Karachi and selling it to chemical factories and the transport charges per trailer are about Rs 300,000, which a senior marketing official allegedly pockets in collaboration with the carriage contractors.