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September 7, 2018

FIA begins inquiry into Rs500 million rip off in SEPCO


September 7, 2018

SUKKUR: An FIA team led by Aijaz Ahmed on Thursday raided the revenue department of the SEPCO, Khairpur and confiscated records related to over Rs 500 million embezzlement in five years from 2012 to 2018. The SEPCO officials fudged the electricity bills during the five years accommodated a particular lobby comprising owners of some ice factories, flour mills and tube wells who had received inflated bills against heavy consumption. Furthermore despite recommendations of probe into the whole affair from the officers of the commercial and audit branch, no investigations were ordered indicating complicity of middle and senior management.

On Thursday, the FIA team investigated the officers and officials of the revenue department and prevented any one to leave the office without their permission. Abdul Ahad Sangri Deputy Director FIA Office Sukkur confirmed to The News that his team confiscated the record of the Revenue office of SEPCO Operation Division Khairpur from 2012 to 2018.

Earlier, The News investigations had shown that entire embezzlement was covered under the guise of correction of “ heavily inflated electricity bills”. The officials belonging to the revenue, billing and commercial departments with wrongful intent and without approval of the competent authority forged the meter readings to drastically reduce the bills of a group of influential factory owners. These officials by favouring the factory lobby inflicted damages worth Rs 503 million to SEPCO, Khairpur that is already encumbered by fewer recoveries and is gathering losses. As a cover up, the staff changed the electricity meters while declaring them defective and the cause of inaccurate readings, the sources alleged. Interestingly the fees for installing the news meters was also not recovered.

The revenue and billing lobby involved in the pilferage are so strong and influential that they resisted launching probe into the affair. The Manager Commercial, SEPCO highlighted the fraud and recommended a thorough probe, but the department is reluctant to do so. Similarly the senior officials of SEPCO also ignored the objections to the “adjusted billing” by the Audit Officer. The SEPCO, Khairpur, is among the DISCOS that has gathered huge losses due to poor recoveries, but despite that has not conducted a probe into this massive corruption apart from paying the occasional lip service indicating a complicity at the highest level of SEPCO.

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