National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has reportedly completed two inquiries into a mega imported urea scam of National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) – a subsidiary of Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P), well informed sources told Business Recorder.
NFML has developed ill repute through sale of imported urea through its dealers” network across Pakistan with a number of cases of urea theft and reported irregular sales from time to time, the sources added.
“NAB Islamabad and Lahore offices have completed a fact-finding inquiry conducted by Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, a former Senior Joint Secretary of Ministry of Industries and Production and overpricing of imported urea. NAB will take action against the accused after Eid-ul-Azha,” the sources added.
Dr Mukhtar had completed a fact-finding inquiry in November 2014 in which names of several officials were mentioned.
According to NFML, record sale of urea on 16th January 2014 in Lahore Region was 405,160 bags amounting to Rs 649 million @ Rs 1600 per bag. This is an abnormal figure as this quantum of Fertilizer cannot be made available to dealers in a single day at NFML godowns. The price increase was w.e.f. 17th January 2014 @ Rs 1786 per bag. It can be safely presumed that the books of NFML were kept open till 22nd January 2014 for recording of sales at reduced price of Rs 1600 per bag. Moreover, no sale was recorded in the account books from 17th to 22nd January, 2014 in Lahore Region which clearly indicates mala fide on part of the then NFML management. The loss incurred by NFML on account of irregular and illegal sale on 16th January 2014 alone is Rs 75 million in the Lahore Region. This figure excludes freight charges and loading and unloading labour charges etc. It was presumed that urea which was misappropriated /dumped by cartage contractors was also adjusted on this date without physical delivery of urea stocks.
The sources said NAB Islamabad and Lahore have quizzed incumbent and few former officials of NFML in both the inquiries.
Official documents reveal that the Ministry of Industries and Production had written a letter to Chairman NAB citing the Managing Director NFML as stating that five cartage contractors were involved in misappropriation of 38,394 MT of urea in connivance with officers who remained posted in NFML. The penalty to the tune of Rs 48,058,876 was imposed while the loss to the government exchequer has been estimated at Rs 1.620 billion.