Corruption in Sindh agri dept: Minister says action to be taken after NAB inquiries

The News

KARACHI: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated different inquiries of alleged corruption of billions of rupees, keeping the assets beyond the known source of income by the officers, making of illegal appointments and registration of fake pesticides in Sindh Agriculture Department. According to the official documents copies available with The News, NAB authorities sent at least two letters asking the Secretary Sindh Agriculture Department under section 27 of NAO Ordinance to provide the detailed information regarding the service of three senior officers of the Department Director General Hidayatullah Chajro, Nisar Shah and Asghar Mangi along with the record of their tenure of service, place of postings and their declared assets before the department and details of appointments made in last five years. In July this year another investigation was also authorised against officers of the Sindh Agriculture Department after an inquiry substantiated allegations of the embezzlement of Rs1 billion in a tractor subsidy scheme under which 11,000 tractors were supposed to be provided to farmers across Sindh in 2013 to increase agricultural activity and yield. There is mess like situation from last many years in Sindh Agriculture Department over price of sugarcane, subsidy for growers of sugarcane, illegal appointments, registration of fake pesticides, corruption and other issues. Recently Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed on Supreme Court orders inquiring the mega money laundering scam also investigating some of the issues of department. Earlier in last month, then In-charge of Sindh Agriculture Laboratory Zulifqar Jagirani approached Secretary of Department, Anti-Corruption Establishment Sindh and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities to inquire the matter of alleged registration of fake pesticides by some officers of Sindh Agriculture Department. According to complaint of Mr Jagirani, some officers of department without laboratory testing and
mandatory tests registered some 250 pesticides of different companies which caused the loss of billions of rupees to provincial agriculture. Talking to The News, Mr Jagirani said when he was posted on the position of In-Charge of Agriculture Laboratory he witnessed the said irregularity and first made complaint with higher authorities of Department then approached the ACE and NAB authorities but till date no inquiry conducted on the issue but he was removed from his position. This reporter approached Secretary Agriculture Agha Zaheer and Director General Nazeer Chajro called at their official and cell phone numbers, sent them detailed text messages and whatsapp regarding the issue and then visited two times office of Secretary Agha Zaheer and requested his staff for some time to get his official version upon all issues but Secretary Agha Zaheer who earlier did not reply through phone refused to meet this reporter, this reporter waited for ten days for reply but till the filling of this story remained unable to receive any response from Secretary Agha Zaheer and DG Nazeer Chajro. However, Sindh Minister for Agriculture Muhammad Ismail Rahoo in his brief reply told this reporter that there were many issues and irregularities in the Department and he had taken many steps to overcome the situation, especially steps has been taken against registration of fake pesticides. Minister Rahoo added that after the finalisation of inquiries of NAB, appropriate action would be taken against the responsible officers.

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