Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has approached the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and also announced holding an independent audit of the free flour scheme after Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s corruption allegations against the provincial and federal government.
“Baseless allegations by some PML-N leaders regarding 'Free Atta Scheme' in Punjab being put to independent audit in the interest of transparency and financial prudence,” he said in a tweet from his official handle on Saturday.
He also added that the interim set-up decided to go for an immediate audit through Auditor General Pakistan (AGP) office, and simultaneously through a private audit firm of established international repute.
“Further, we have also sent a request to the Chairman NAB to check into the program to verify if anything of the sort has been done by any nefarious elements,” the interim CM added.
Last week, Abbasi had claimed that Rs20 billion were embezzled from the federal and provincial government’s free flour distribution scheme.
Addressing a ceremony in Lahore, the ruling party leader said that the country’s system has become “so corrupt and outdated” that it cannot deliver.
He said corrupt government officials would be identified in the past “but today is the time when we have to look for honest officers”.
Abbasi asked what did poor get out of the Rs84 billion subsidy allocated by the federal and provincial governments to provide free flour to the poor during the holy month of Ramadan.
“More than Rs20 billion were stolen in the government's free flour scheme,” he alleged.
Responding to his allegations, the Centre and the caretaker government of Punjab rejected his claims.
Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said millions of poor people in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Islamabad were provided free flour during the holy month with “full transparency and honesty”.
She said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself visited the flour distribution points in different cities.
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