COA seeks criminal probe on Butuan local execs over anomalous road project

The state audit body has recommended that the Ombudsman investigate Butuan City officials
over their alleged involvement in the “unfinished” road project worth P39.99 million in 2010. COURIER FILE PHOTO

The Commission on Audit has recommended that the Ombudsman investigate Butuan City officials for their involvement in the allegedly anomalous road project worth P39.99 million in 2010.

COA Chair Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc have directed its Prosecution and Litigation Office to forward the case to the Ombudsman for investigation and possible filing of charges against those responsible “for falsely certifying that the road project was 100 percent complete.”

In a recent decision, the COA affirmed its notice of disallowance—a reimbursement order—issued on the payment of contractor for the repair of the P-9 to P-14 segment of a road in Sitio Kauswagan, Barangay Bit-os as the project was supposedly not completed.

The state audit body ruled the earlier finding of its regional office in Caraga disallowing some P19 million out of P39.99 million funds used to repair the road, had enough basis.

“As correctly pointed out and exhaustively explained by the RD (Regional Director), COA RO No. XIII, the disallowance for the variance in the design grade elevation and the improper disposal of the excavated materials was proper,” the COA said.

“The only issues left to be addressed are: (1) who should be made liable and (2) to what extent should they be made liable,” the COA added.  

According to the decision, the road project was disallowed because the government officials claimed the project was already 100 percent complete as of June 2010, and final payment was made in May 2011. 

But the COA said state auditors discovered in July 2011 that the road project was still not finished, with excavated parts of the road left unused and not disposed properly.

“In its Inspection Report dated July 15, 2011, the Regional TechITS reported, among others, that the design grade elevation was not attained and the excavated materials were not hauled as planned, but were side-wasted,” COA explained. By CLC

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