ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Benami Office has transactions of billions of rupees during its scrutiny of Hunza Sugar Mills and Alliance Sugar Mills’ accounts.
According to information available with Pakistan Today, the Benazmi Zone II in Lahore was investigating five sugar mills and summoned the owners with the most declared sales tax to ascertain buyers’ registration status.
A preliminary investigation revealed large-scale anonymous transactions. However, due to logistical limitations and narrow timelines involved in the proceedings, detailed scrutiny was limited to two sugar mills initially; namely, Alliance Sugar Mills and Hunza Sugar Mills.
Officials told Pakistan Today that show-cause notices under Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017, have been served upon Hunza Sugar Mills and Alliance Sugar Mills.
A perusal of the sales tax returns of Alliance Sugar Mills and Hunza Sugar Mills showed that sugar worth Rs19.1 billion and Rs516 million, respectively, for tax years 2017-2020, had been sold by mills to unregistered persons.
Benami Zone II then issued summons to multiple purchasers who, in their written statements, denied knowledge of any such transaction, officials revealed.
During the course of the investigation, it was learned that the unregistered purchasers being shown in sales tax returns of the aforementioned sugar mills were cover-up owners, including low paid workers or truck drivers, rather than the real owners, which to date remain unaware of their involvement in sugar purchase.