P7B worth of transactions unaccounted for after Nabcor shutdown
MANILA, Philippines - Around P7.064 billion ($160.9 million) worth of transactions are left unexplained after the shutdown of the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in late 2013, government auditors reported.
The amount includes some P607 million ($13.8 million) of irregular fund releases in suspensions and disallowances.
The Commission on Audit (COA) said it was not able to do a financial audit on the said government-owned or controlled corporation (GOCC) due to the absence of financial statements and breakdown of expenses for 2013.
COA added that its audit team already sought an audience with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who sits as chairman of Nabcor, to work out a plan of action so auditors can obtain the information needed to complete its review.
Alcala has not responded, COA said.
The commission also sent a letter to Nabcor president Honesto Baniqued, but he, too, gave no response.
On November 26, 2013, the President Benigno Aquino III abolished Nabcor as recommended by the Governance Commission on GOCCs (GCG). Nabcor was involved in a series of anomalies including the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam and the Malampaya funds. (READ: Nabcor, ZREC funded NGOs without vetting)
“In a letter dated June 19, 2014, we requested for an exit conference with the Honorable Secretary of DA, who sits as Chairman of the Board of Nabcor, but we have not received any reply pertaining thereto,” COA said.
The biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history, the pork barrel scam is an intricate web of alleged corruption involving lawmakers who allowed their PDAF to be siphoned off to bogus projects of fake NGOs in exchange for hefty kickbacks.
Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile have already been arrested due to their alleged involvement in the scam.
More irregularities in Nabcor
Despite the massive irregularities, all 42 officials and regular employees, including the president of Nabcor, were given their separation pay on December 17, 2013. This alone totals to P13.5 million ($307,517), according to COA.
The commission questioned the basis of such payments given that the supporting documents and disbursement vouchers have not been submitted for verification. On February 11, 2014, a notice of suspension was issued on the separation pay. (READ: COA to Nabcor: Refund P5.5-M illegal perks)
The transactions undertaken by Nabcor from 2009 to 2012 could not be audited because of the 1,207 missing journal entry and disbursement vouchers.
COA added: “The financial condition and results of operations of Nabcor cannot be determined due to the non-submission for audit of the 2013 financial statements and supporting reports, and more than 1,200 vouchers…hindering the audit team from determining the validity of the transactions.”
Of the amount totalling P7,064,361,360 around P1.519 billion ($34.6 million) were released in 2013. The rest were released from 2009 to 2012.
The dissolution of Nabcor also left unresolved questioned disbursements totalling to P548.94 million ($13.3 million), which have already been issued notices of suspensions, the auditors said. This amount includes P318.517 million ($7.25 million) presently under fraud audit investigations, P143.254 million ($3.2 million) PDAF transactions, and P77.169 million ($1.75 million) irregular Malampaya fund use.
Notices of disallowances have already been issued against the P68.4 million ($1.56 million) fund disbursements that violated various budget and audit rules. From the amount, around P32.673 million ($744,259) have already been given ordered to be returned to the government. - Rappler.com
*USD1 = PHP43.9