Ex-cashier arrested for P150M co-op theft

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SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: A former cashier of the La Union Electric Cooperative Inc (Luelco) wanted for allegedly stealing P150 million from the co-op was arrested by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents on Wednesday. yesterday.

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Dave Alunan, NBI assistant regional director who headed the agents, identified the suspect as Cecilla Olarte.

Six counts of qualified theft were filed against Olarte.

Based on Luelco general manager Ramon Posadas’ complaint, the former cashier allegedly did not deposit to the Luelco account collections for September 21 and October 16, 2012 and collections for March 12, 13, 18, 20, 21 and 25, 2013, or a total amount of P39, 831,000.

Olarte also allegedly failed to deposit the whole amount of P55, 217,170 in collections for March 27, 2013 and April 1,2,3,4,8,10,12,15,16 and 18, 2013.

Of the total P55, 217,170, she also allegedly deposited only P19, 896, 835, failing to account for P35, 320, 343.

Olarte had gone into hiding for several months.

Posadas said the huge collections were found missing during an audit conducted by the National Electrification Administration and an internal audit by Luelco.

He added that Olarte is the only person who is in custody of the collections of Luelco and that she violated the trust given to her by the cooperative to keep and secure its funds.

The former cashier, denied the charges, claiming that the missing amounts that were not deposited in the bank were given as cash advances to Luelco officials, employees and contractors.

During investigation, she, however, failed to show proof where the missing amounts ended up.

Prosecutors Gaudencio Valdez Jr and Braulio Tade, in their resolutions approved by provincial prosecutor Danilo Bumacod, found sufficient evidence to charge Olarte for the crime of qualified theft, a non-bailable offense.

Valdez resolved eight of the 19 cases of qualified theft based on the complaint of Posadas while Tade resolved the other 11 cases.

But an NBI source said only six counts of qualified theft were listed on the war-rant of arrest and that the total amount lost is around P150 million.

Olarte is temporarily detained at the NBI office here before her formal turnover to the Regional Trial Court in Agoo, La Union.

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