MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) stood behind its earlier ruling issuing notices of disallowance against projects by the provincial government of Maguindanao amounting to P1.824 billion.
In a decision released on Friday, March 18, the commission proper junked the petition for review filed by former Maguindanao provincial treasurer Osmeña Bandila against 49 notices of disallowance issued between 2011 and 2012.
State auditors said the transactions related to the projects between 2008 and 2009 are “illegal or irregular,” after a special audit found that 76% – or P1.86 billion – of the total P2.437 billion expenditures of Maguindanao were released as cash advances to Bandila.
COA Circular No. 97-002 requires government expenditures to be paid in checks directly to contractors or suppliers. Bandila, who is also a member of the province’s bids and awards committee, claimed that suppliers refused to accept checks.
But COA said that Bandila’s actions shows “wanton disregard of the law and this Commission’s rules on cash advance.”
The audit team also found that the disbursements “were either not documented or documents submitted were spurious,” including official receipts bearing the same numbers while a tax identification card was found to belong to an employee in the local government unit.
COA also raised questions on the lack of business permits of some suppliers. They also found that they have no records of income tax returns.
Records would be turned over to the Office of the Ombudsman for further investigation. – Rappler.com