The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities to immediately stop undue harassment of traders and consumer dealers of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and issue directions for withdrawal of unjustified and wrongful recovery notices.
LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar in a statement on Monday said that the entire steel industry is in a state of shock over the issuance of recovery notices that are based on false assumptions because the record available with the dealers clearly proves that they had made all purchases as per listed prices of PSM. He said that it is not logistically possible for 1,024 consumer dealers to act in connivance with the officials of PSM to secure wrongful gains on account of purchase of billet.
He said that the real culprits have absconded from the country and now the PSM is trying to rope in innocent parties that made purchases as per their routine at the prices offered by PSM. The LCCI President said that the consumer dealers cannot be held responsible for the actions of the certain officials of the PSM.
He said that it seemed that the trader and consumer dealers are being made scapegoats to cover up the bigger issue of mismanagement within the PSM. He said that the recovery notices are issued on the basis of faulty forensic report, which has already been rejected by Federal Investigation Agency, PSM management and the Ministry of Industries and Production. It is worth mentioning that the trader and consumer dealers served with recovery notices have also been issued clearance certificates by PSM, he added.
He said that the NAB notices are causing irreparable reputation damage to the business houses that are providing much needed employment opportunities and are contributing to the national exchequer. He said that the allegations levelled against PSM dealers are totally incorrect and falsified by the fact that they got less supply during the alleged period compared to the periods before.
“Had there been any collusion, these people would have been allocated more material by the PSM.” He said that the dealers have no control over the prices of the products of PSM but the NAB is punishing them without any solid evidence and serving them with notices. He said that the prices of products sold by Steel Mills are set by the mills management itself and no outsider can influence the prices.
He said that the responsibility of corruption and mismanagement fall entirely on the shoulders of the management of PSM. The LCCI President said that at this point in time when businesses are under tremendous pressure due to multiple internal and external challenges, the NAB authorities, instead of unveiling the black sheep involved in corruption in Pakistan Steel Mills, are protecting them and harassing the dealers.