Ombudsman indicts Napoles, 6 others in fertilizer fund scam

(File photo) Janet Lim Napoles © en.wikipedia.org

THE Office of the Ombudsman on Friday has indicted Janet Lim Napoles and six other individuals after it found probable cause in connection with the alleged irregularities in the procurement of fertilizers for the Agricultural Reinforcement Project of the municipality of Del Carmen, Surigao Del Norte.

Napoles, together with DA Assistant Regional Director Edgardo Dahino, Chief Administrative Officer Jessica Da-an, Administrative Officer Merylinda Santos, and Accountant III Gerry Leop; private respondents Evelyn De Leon and Rodel Pontillas, both from the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI), are set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Malversation of Public Funds.

Investigation uncovered that in May 2004, the DA RFU Caraga entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the municipality and PSDFI for the procurement of fertilizers with a project cost of PhP5 million.

Upon scrutiny, it was discovered that the project had no appropriation as Republic Act No. 9162 (General Appropriations Act of 2002), the supposed source of funding, was effective only until December 2003, hence, it could not have served as the appropriation law for the MOA executed in 2004.

DA officials released the entire fund to PSDFI, as NGO-implementor, without complying with Commission on Audit Circular No. 96-003 which requires funds to be released in three tranches.

Records also show that no fertilizers were distributed in the municipality based on certifications issued by the municipality’s agriculturist.

In a Resolution approved on 11 July 2018, Napoles was indicted “for conspiring with public respondents for ordering the reactivation of the PSDFI and entering into the transaction with the DA RFU Caraga and the municipality using PSDFI as conduit for the project; by allowing the issuance of fake official receipts to make it appear that the PSDFI received the public funds; by issuing a report of disbursement using her employee, respondent de Leon, to make it appear that the PSDFI used the PhP5 million in the acquisition of fertilizers, and by purchasing fake liquid fertilizers for PhP100.00 per 300ml/bottle and selling them to DA RFU Caraga at PhP800.00 per 300ml/bottle.”

 

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