Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) is reportedly internally investigating hoarding of 93,000 MT of imported urea in Karachi, after National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) refused to send the case of its “corrupt” officials to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Secretary Industries Shafqat Naghmi wrote a letter to the Managing Director, NFML, Chairman NFC and General Manager NFML on December 17, 2013 in which he unveiled a mega imported urea scam.
A group of private stakeholders and officials of the NFML was allegedly involved in hoarding and selling of imported urea at exorbitant rates to farmers. Sources claimed that 40, 000 bags of imported urea had disappeared from a Karachi-based godown during transportation from Karachi to other destinations. One Deputy Manager Distribution had been suspended. NAB has taken over the control of godown.
The sources revealed that Qudraat Ullah, Deputy General Manager, who was transferred to Karachi, had refused to take the charge because of massive wrongdoings in urea distribution. He had been sent back to the NFC as an OSD.
“I was informed that 0.2 million tons of urea was lying in Hawksbay. On examination, it transpired that 93,000 MT of imported urea was indeed hoarded there. You are also directed to explain as to why such a huge amount of urea was not transported despite shortage of urea in the country,” the sources quoted Secretary Industries as saying in the letter, a copy of which is also available with this scribe.
An official of the NFML confided to Business Recorder that the MoI&P was investigating hoarding of 93,000 MT of urea in Karachi and why the cases of those accused had not been sent to the FIA.
The Employees of the NFML argue that the top brass of the MoI&P and NFML had joined hands in pocketing money through the sale of imported urea in black market. An office, holder of private urea manufacturer, told this scribe that the bags of local urea manufacturers were being used to sell imported urea.
“We have suggested to the government to minimise price difference between imported and locally manufactured urea so that black marketing is eliminated,” he added.
The minister has already suspended five NFML stores in-charge on charges of corruption and inquiries against them are in process in the ministry. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is also investigating the NFML urea scam and the agency has recovered millions of rupees so far from responsible officials and private parties through a voluntary return mechanism.
The NAB investigation team recovered a total of 7,809 underweight urea bags from godowns. There are confirmed reports that the NFML officials stationed at stores” mix sand, powder and mud in each bag of urea, causing a colossal loss to the national economy. Accusations against stores in-charge include 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 reportedly pockets in collaboration with the carriage contractors.