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December 1, 2018

NAB’s raid on Punjab Food Directorate creates panic

National

December 1, 2018

LAHORE: A team of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday raided premises of Provincial Food Directorate and arrested Deputy Director Budget & Accounts on the charges of corrupt practices, causing panic among the officials, said official sources.

As soon as a raiding team of NAB reached provincial Food Directorate in the afternoon, fear and panic gripped government employees when they came to know about the presence of raiding team. Consequently, sources claimed that some senior officials deemed it appropriate to frantically left offices in a hurry.

The Food Directorate is headed by Director, who is overall in-charge of wheat operation in the province. He is assisted by Deputy Director Food (Budget & Accounts) and Deputy Director (Food Directorate). Among other officials, Additional Director Food also sits here on the same premises. The Food Directorate is tasked with chief supervisory role and director is the competent authority in the capacity of head of the attached department mainly monitoring the operations of procuring, storing & sale of wheat / wheat products, ensuring food security in the province.

The Deputy Director Budget and Accounts has been tasked with arrangements of finances/ credits from scheduled banks for wheat procurement operation at the eve of procurement season every year and retirement of debts through sale of wheat subsequently to flour mills. He is also responsible for supervising the wheat subsidy/ budgetary issues besides monitoring disposal of audit reports of internal/ OAD Audit Paras and conducting of Departments Accounts Committee /Personal Accounts Committee meetings regularly.

Sources said that the arrested Food Department official was earlier posted as District Accounts Officer Gujrat. He was having lunch after Juma prayer at his office when NAB officials arrived and identified Deputy Director Budget & Accounts. A NAB official introduced himself and arrested him.

Vast complaints of corrupt practices in wheat export, its allocation to flour mills, transportation of grain to various warehouses, bribe in posting of officials are among the many accusations levelled routinely in this regard. NAB has already arrested and indicted scores of officials of provincial food departments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan on various charges of corruption.

Pakistan Flour Mills Association has recently accused officials of food department of corruption, stating that several officials are allegedly involved in minting money by embezzling wheat stocks and through other means.

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