NAB Initiates probe into alleged corruption in free flour scheme during Ramzan

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has launched an investigation into alleged corruption in the Free Flour Scheme launched during the holy month of Ramzan and NAB officials visited central office of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) as part of the inquiry.

According to sources, NAB has demanded records of 45 million bags of flour from the Flour Millers distributed during Ramzan. NAB has also sought records of free flour distribution in Ramzan markets from 1,100 flour mills across Punjab. Moreover, NAB has requested records, including gate passes, from 85 flour mills in Lahore.

Sources further informed that NAB officials spent four hours investigating Flour Millers. However, a three-member delegation from NAB was briefed by the Chairman Pakistan Flour Mills Association, Asim Raza, and the Chairman of Punjab, Iftikhar Muttu.

During the briefing, NAB officials were informed that the Flour Mills provided wheat to the Food Department and the district administration at the gate, and the Food Department supplied wheat while the mills performed the grinding process.

Similarly, the trucks carrying flour bags were handed over daily to the Food Department and district administration at the mill’s gate, and the Flour Mills had no role in the distribution of the free flour scheme.

Sources revealed that the Flour Mills have sought time from NAB to provide the requisite record, and NAB has given them until June 9th. A thorough investigation will be conducted into the requisite records of the Flour Mills’ owners.

Pakistan Flour Mills Association Chairman Asim Raza stated that all records would be provided to NAB by June 9th.

“The process of collecting records from the Flour Mills would begin immediately, and some records were already available with them [NAB],” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that during Ramzan, the Punjab government provided free flour to eligible individuals through a scheme. Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had alleged corruption of around 2 billion PKR in this scheme. Subsequently, the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab, Mohsin Naqvi, had requested NAB to audit the Free Flour Scheme and initiate an investigation.

Sources have also mentioned that NAB officials held meetings with Flour Mills officials, flour sale points, and the Food Department. Initial investigations have revealed technical and administrative errors in the Free Flour Scheme.

Furthermore, due to the lack of data reconciliation between the district administration and the Flour Mills, 10.42 million bags of flour are missing. According to sources, only 30.18 million bags of data reconciliation have been completed so far, and the accurate figures are not available, posing difficulties for NAB.




Shahab Omer
Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]


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