The government of Sindh has said that it had detected massive corruption in its tractor subsidy scheme in the provincial agriculture department after receiving a complaint on March 7, 2017 by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).
According to an official handout, the record was obtained from the agriculture ministry and thorough inquiries were conducted into the matter.
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The handout issued by the provincial information ministry added that an inquiry into the matter revealed that the suspect, Shahzad Riaz, the chief executive officer of M/s Shahzad Trade Link, agent of Belarus Tractors, worked as a dealer to deliver tractors to growers and “emerged successful [contractor] in ballot under the subsidised tractors scheme, from 2009 to 2012”.
“Shahzad Riaz [was] supposed to deliver [a] tractor to [a] grower and to claim subsidy of Rs300,000 per tractor. As many as 5,780 tractors were purportedly delivered by him to growers.”
But, the handout added, “Actually on ground he did not do so. He received subsidy of Rs1.45 billion, fraudulently, whereas, in fact, he sold off tractors to other purchasers at the price of his choosing. He engaged many dealers across Sindh through two dummy companies — M/s AR Enterprises and M/s MI Enterprises — which he had actually registered in the names of his own employees — namely Amir Rafiq and Muhammad Imran — respectively. He got the tokens from growers and used them coupled with fake invoices to claim the subsidy.”
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“On the one hand, the accused got the subsidy by issuing an invoice showing delivery of the tractor to a grower in each single case, while on the other hand he issued parallel invoices bearing the same engine and chassis number of the tractor to routine customers, which he indicated while claiming subsidy.
“Thereby, he got double profit of the subsidy and the sale of tractors at the price of his choice, instead of the fixed price of Rs1,035,000 per tractor, which he had agreed to charge in the subsidy scheme.
“Evidence is available, showing as many as 1,200 fake pay orders purportedly issued from a single branch of a bank from the account of the accused for receiving the subsidy, illegally.
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“Besides, double invoicing fraud, the accused has managed to register the subsidy scheme tractors in the name of market purchasers in the Excise Department by issuing sale certificates bearing the same engine and chassis numbers, which he had given in the Agriculture Department in the form of an invoice issued by him for the claim of subsidy.
“In this regard,” the handout said, “the [Sindh] Excise Department after verification has generated a report to the ACE.”
“Many witnesses have denied the receipt of tractors as shown in the fake record by the accused. His bank accounts show transactions from Punjab dealers, confirming the sale of same tractors to Punjab, which were shown into the claim of subsidy.
“His links are so strong, [but] the case was closed by NAB for reasons best known to them. And, surprisingly, the accused has been praying in court to refer the case again to NAB.”
However, it was not possible under the ACE rules, the handout concluded.