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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has issued a issued a notice of disallowance against the Imus City government’s procurement of e-trikes in 2020, citing numerous irregularities, including full payment prior to delivery.
State auditors said the procurement of e-trikes was carried out during the term of former Imus City mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, who served from 2012 to 2022.
What was “highly irregular” about the procurement, said COA, was the release of the full payment of P40.66 million despite zero delivery of 77 units of e-trikes or electric tricycles worth P528,000 each.
COA said the full payment was facilitated by a bogus certification from city officials that claimed the 77 e-trikes had been inspected on November 11, 2020, and duly accepted by the General Services Officer the following day.
COA identified Maliksi and the city’s former General Services Officer as the ones who issued the bogus certification.
“Certifying or declaring that procured goods, services, or project have been delivered and accepted 100% complete when in fact they were not is highly irregular, and disbursement of funds as a result of the false certification can be considered irregular expenditure,” the audit team said.
COA issued a notice of disallowance on January 16, 2023.
COA recommended that the incumbent, Mayor Alex Advincula, order the city legal officer to demand an explanation from Maliksi and other city officials why they issued the false certification of full inspection and delivery.
The audit found out that the full payment was released on September 28, 2021 (DBP check No. 52419336). But a spot inspection by the audit team found that 40 e-trikes were delivered only from December 28, 2021 to January 7, 2022.
The next batch of 37 e-trikes were turned over only on March 4 to 8, 2022.
State auditors noted that the Acceptance and Inspection Report was pre-dated by almost a whole year from actual delivery.
COA said that because of the violations of the guidelines set by the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB), the Imus City legal office should consider blacklisting and filing civil and criminal charges against the supplier.
Missing, defective units
COA noted other red flags in the procurement, including the condition of the e-trikes – they were eight years old at the time of delivery, not operational due to dead batteries or defective parts, and not yet registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the name of the Imus City government
It noted that upon inspection of the audit team, 53 e-trikes were without batteries and remained unused and idle in the city motorpool, and that 24 e-trikes were missing.
The GSO personnel claimed the “missing” units were supposedly brought to a warehouse owned by the Alliance of Basic Education Leaders and Teachers (ABEL Teachers) where they were supposed to be calibrated but there was no information on the units were expected to be returned.
State auditors also found that the e-trikes were intended for distribution to Imus tricycle drivers who would pay for the units through cash installments but the city government, “as of audit date, has yet to execute the plan partly due to numerous issues on the procurement and condition of the vehicles.” – Rappler.com