THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the department managers of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to return the unauthorized extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (EME) which they received in 2006.
In a full court decision, the SC affirmed the notice of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the respondents’ EME worth P13,110,998.26 and directed the LWUA management officials to return the same.
The COA’s Tesda audit team leader discovered that the amount was reimbursed to the officials for the period January to December 2006.
The team claimed the reimbursemens were not supported by receipts and other papers evidencing disbursement under the circular.
The LWUA management officials manifested that they were unaware of the existence of a COA circular particularly during that period.
They appealed their case to the COA but were denied, prompting them to bring their case to the Court of Appeals (CA).
The LWUA officials elevated their case to the high court when they did not receive a favorable ruling from the appeals tribunal.
But according to the SC, the COA was right when it disallowed the EME for the LWUA officials.
“The court finds that the COA did not commit any grave abuse of discretion as its affirmance of Notice of Disallowance No. 09-001-GF (06) is based on cogent legal grounds,” the resolution read.
“Notice of Disallowance [dated July 21, 2009]is therefore upheld and the persons therein held liable are ordered to duly return the disallowed amount of P13,110,998.26,” it added.