COA wants proof on P10-M electric vehicles of Puerto Princesa

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STATE auditors warned officials of Puerto Princesa City that they may face legal proceedings if they could not clarify how a P10-million loan for 33 electric vehicles was used.

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The Commission on Audit (COA) could not ascertain if a P10-million loan of Puerto Princesa City for 33 electric vehicles actually went for the use of taxpayers due to scant records and considering the payment was reimbursement to the city mayor.

In the 2012 report on provincial capital of the Philippines’ Last Frontier, COA said that it could not verify if the P10 million that the city obtained in 2009 from Land Bank was used properly.

In December 2009, the Land Bank credited to the city’s account a P10-million loan to finance the purchase of electric vehicles for the support of renewable energy and mitigation of carbon emission.

However, auditors said that “no transaction covering the acquisition of electric vehicles was recorded in the books as of December 2011.”

The unnamed bookkeeper said that she could not put into writing the purchase “due to unavailability of documents” to support the transaction.

Auditors even added that inquiry with the city officials disclosed that an undetermined number of electric vehicles were purchased by the city mayor himself, who was unnamed in the audit report.

The payment was later on partially reimbursed to city chief by the city government under check number 931974 dated April 29, 2011 for a total of P950,010.

“However, in tracing the claim voucher covering the reimbursement for the acquisition of electric vehicles, it was found out that it formed part of the unrecorded disbursements totaling P88.2 million,” the Audit agency revealed.

The Commission ordered the city hall to release all disbursement vouchers through an audit observation memorandum.

The city hall provided three disbursement vouchers covering P9.9 million worth of checks, which were dated April 28, April 29 and June 30 all in 2011, respectively.

The first disbursement voucher showed P4 million, the second with P950,010, while the third with more than P4.4 million.

The report on checks issued all dated May 31, 2012.

“These vouchers were all paid to the city mayor, as a reimbursement for the purchase of 33 units of electric vehicles,” the report noted.

During post-audit, the office of the city accountant failed to forward the vouchers, saying that the bids and awards secretariat borrowed them for completion of documents.

Also, ocular inspection showed that three electric vehicles, one electric mini-jeep and one electric jeep “were parked lying idle, not properly maintained” in an open area at the back of the city coliseum.

Two others were parked inside and were used to transport guests and visitors around the city for tourism.

When COA asked the city general service officer, the official said that the city hall was not informed of the delivery and were “clueless on the actual number of electric vehicle acquired.”

The Commission added that the city council resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a loan contract with Land Bank did not indicate the actual number of vehicles to be bought out of the P10 million.

The audit team said that without documents showing the actual dates of the purchase and quantity of vehicles, “the utilization efficiency of the P10-million loan could not be properly evaluated.”

The Commission recommended for full disclosure and accountability surrounding the transaction and to provide all necessary documents.

In reply, the city officials said that the vouchers were already recorded in their books. They are also conducting inventory.

In a rejoinder, the Commission said that the vouchers may be recorded in the books but they “were not forwarded to [COA] for post-audit.”

“If evidence warrant, administrative or criminal proceeding should be initiated against those personnel determined responsible and liable,” auditors said. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON

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