Pakistan’s Sadiqabad sugar scam: Billions embezzled, NAB launches probe

Sadiqabad, Pakistan: The sugar industry was already reeling under a billion-rupee scam, and now, the prime suspect, a sugar broker Sheikh Rashid, has reportedly fled after embezzling funds from hundreds of sugar dealers and traders spread all over the country, reported local media.

The NAB has immediately taken cognizance of the “mega sugar scandal” that has caused gigantic financial losses to the national kitty. At the time of going to press, a team of NAB officials was present in Sadiqabad, who, with the cooperation of the local authorities, were interrogating and inquiring into the matter. Claims are invited from the affected persons to its Lahore office.

Sheikh Rashid and his allied persons, Kashif and Faisal, are the target of the investigation. NAB has frozen the assets of Rashid wherein four of his godowns [warehouses] in Sadiqabad have been established to be used for storing the embezzled sugar stocks.

This case has brought to the fore the bigger issue of tax theft in the sugar sector. FBR has activated special teams to keep an eye on sugar mills across the country. The teams would check the production, sale, clearance, and stock position apart from ensuring that each sugar sack is pasted with the mandatory tax stamp. FBR has warned stern action against the defaulters. Mannan said that it includes confiscation of stock and imprisonment for those involved in tax evasion.

The same investigation by the NAB and the subsequent crackdown by the FBR signify a firm hand against financial crimes in the sugar sector. How far the law agencies will succeed in arresting Sheikh Rashid and recovering looted money is a matter of time but all such steps will at least deter such scams in the future and ensure proper tax collection from the defaulting sugar mafia.


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