MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) will no longer require former transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and 9 other officials to return money related to a controversial license plate deal in 2014.
But state auditors, led by COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, recommended that the Office of the Ombudsman investigate and file “appropriate cases against responsible Land Transportation Office officials and other persons, in view of irregularities and violation of the procurement law.”
In a decision dated July 9, 2018 but released only last week, COA granted the petitions for review filed by Abaya and other members of the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)’s bids and awards committee, lifting the notice of disallowance on the P477.9-million advance payment to a contractor under the Aquino administration.
COA, in July 2015, issued the notice of disallowance (ND) after state auditors noted several irregularities in the procurement process.
The petition against the ND was based on the Supreme Court resolution which made moot the challenges on the alleged inadequate finding of the contract awarded to the Joint Venture of J. Knieriem B.V Goes (JKG) Philippines Inc and Power Plates Development Concepts, Inc (PPI).
“The SC, however, ruled that the controversy has been rendered moot and academic by the passage of the 2014 GAA (General Appropriations Act) since the amount of P4,843,753,000 had been appropriated by Congress for the MVLPSP,” the COA said.
It also reminded the DOTr and LTO officials that the contract will still be subjected to post-audit that may raise issues “relating to the performance of the contract.” – Rappler.com