Fertilizer ‘scam’ surfaces in Ifugao

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Former officials from Hingyon, Ifugao Province are facing graft charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.

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The Office of the Ombudsman filed the charges on Tuesday last week against former Municipal Mayor Alex Kindipan, Municipal Treasurer Henry Gano, Municipal Accountant Maria Nilda Deloy for alleged violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the anti-graft law as well as the implementing rules and regulations of the procurement law.

Likewise named respondents were Dolly Villaflor and Lucia Diola who are the sole proprietress and representative of Bry Cin Enterprises, respectively, and; Suzette Recto of Jozeth Trading and Manager of Keppelson Enterprises.

In October last year, the office found probable cause to charge them.

According to the anti-graft body, the local government of Hingyon received funds amounting to P3.250 million for the purchase of farm inputs and implements in line with the under the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Program.

It alleged that the public respondents entered into a deal or transaction with Bry Cin Enterprises for the purchase of 2,166 bottles of Keppelson Super Fast Foliar Plant Food fertilizer costing P1,500 per bottle or a total of P3.08 million in 2004.

But the Commission on Audit (COA) found no public bidding was conducted for the project and the procurement was made with reference to specific brand names.

The charge sheet for violation of the procurement law stated, as the charge sheets for graft also alleged, that “other foliar fertilizers with equal or higher micro nutrient content are available in Ifugao Province for a lower price of P165.00 per bottle.”

According to the office, there was an overprice of P1,335 per bottle or a total overprice of P2.89 million.

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