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Ministry claims unearthing Rs760m scam in TDAP

August 01, 2013
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ISLAMABAD: The ministry of commerce has found out that officials of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan drew Rs760 million on a single day against fake claims.

The amount was drawn from a bank on April 5 when the caretaker government was in power.

The issue came to light when the ministry received complains from within the TDAP and the private sector that required formalities were not completed before the withdrawal of money.

Spokesman of the ministry Mohammad Ashraf confirmed to Dawn that the amount had been drawn on a single day. “The amount approved for disbursement in April was nearly Rs760m,” he said.

But, he added that the total disbursement included genuine claims.

The ministry, according to Mr Ashraf, ordered a departmental inquiry and the committee which carried out the probe has submitted its report.

“The committee has recommended action against the officials involved in the scam,” he said and confirmed that some TDAP officials were involved.

A source in the TDAP told Dawn that senior officials of the commerce and trade group and district management group were involved in the scam.

Earlier, a multi-billion scam was unearthed in the National Insurance Company Limited, another subsidiary of the ministry. The coalition government headed by the PPP had announced a three-year trade policy framework. The policy included proposals for providing cash subsidies to exporters to promote trade and exports during 2009-12.

It envisaged that the government would bear 50 per cent cost of rent and salary of three employees of exporters who opened their offices abroad and 50pc cost of retail outlets.

The officials allegedly involved in the scam had prepared bogus documents of several companies and also opened bank accounts in their own names. They issued cheques against claims in the name of fake companies and drew money.

The finance ministry had decided to release Rs1.27 billion for subsidies to be given to genuine exporters during 2012-13. The amount was released on March 25, nine days after the PPP government had completed its tenure.

The officials whose identity has not been revealed were posted in key positions in the TDAP by the PPP government and they continued to work after the induction of the caretaker set-up.

About 60 companies are major recipients of subsidy from the TDAP for having opened their offices and retail outlets in foreign countries, but it now appears that only three to four genuine companies benefited from the scheme. About 50pc of the amount is believed to have been claimed in the name of fake companies as air freight subsidy for seafood exports.

Although the amount projected for 2009-12 was Rs26bn, the finance ministry released only Rs4.27bn in three years. An amount of Rs1bn was released in 2010-11 and Rs2bn in 2011-12.