Ex-National Book Development Board official convicted of graft

The Sandiganbayan says the former official renewed a security agency's contract without public bidding in 2002

ANTI-GRAFT COURT. The facade of the Sandiganbayan's Centennial Building. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan convicted a former official of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) of graft for renewing the services of a security agency without going through public bidding in 2002.

In a decision released on February 7, the anti-graft court sentenced former NBDB executive officer Nellie Vernei to 6 to 10 years of imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Vernei was found to have extended the contract of Maximum Security and Services Corporation for one year, worth P528,645.11, without undergoing public bidding and evaluation by the NBDB Governing Board.

“Vernei agreed to extend the contract of Maximum Security by making it appear, at first glance, that the amendment thereon was only for the increase of the monthly rates of the security guards, but in truth the period of the contract was also extended for the whole year of 2002,” the court said.

Vernei, however, said she was not the executive officer anymore when the addendum to the contract was signed in July 2002. She added that the case was based on a complaint filed by her successor, Daniel Fajardo.

The Sandiganbayan junked her argument, noting that the addendum states the contract was entered into in March 2002.

“There is no doubt that the date of the execution of the addendum to contract was 1 March 2002,” the court said.

“What the defense claims as the date of execution on 12 July 2002 was the date of notarization,” it added. – Rappler.com