COA uncovers P10M feeds and fertilizer procurement fraud at CLSU

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    GOVERNMENT auditors have blown the lid off a P10.66-million procurement fraud at the Central Luzon State University covering an 18-month period from Jan. 2, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

    In all, the scam covered 158 transactions involving purchases of fuel, animal feeds, and fertilizers from four private suppliers who did not even have a clue they were involved because they supposedly submitted price quotations to the university.

    The procurement irregularities slipped through unnoticed until sharp-eyed government auditors noted one dead giveaway – the signatures of persons in the requests for quotations (RFQs) did not match with those of other documents.

    When the audit team conducted confirmation and validation, the supposed suppliers denied participating in the transactions and disowned their supposed signatures on the documents.

    “We definitely established that the RFQs were fabricated, the signatures of persons were falsified, and the price quotations therein were fictitious,” it reported.

    Confronted by the evidence, the CLSU buyer-canvasser who was not identified owned up to his wrongdoings.

    He explained that he tried to get price quotations from the private suppliers involved but received no cooperation. Likewise, he claimed he simply wanted to speed up the process, particularly regarding the animal feeds because supply was running low.

    Auditors were unimpressed, saying the explanations were “unacceptable,” as they reminded the buyer-canvasser that his actions are punishable by imprisonment and fines under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code covering falsification of public documents.

    During an exit conference however, the CLSU president informed the audit team that the guilty personnel was not transferred to another post unrelated to procurement based on “humanitarian consideration.”

    The university official claimed the buyer-canvasser is about to retire from government service as an administrative aide and that he is valuable to his department because of his familiarity with the procurement processes.

    However, the University Business Affairs Program (UBAP) has already been stripped of authority to receive checks on behalf of suppliers.

    The audit team insisted that the CLSU management should impose sanctions on the erring employee and, at the very least, transfer him to a post unrelated to the procurement of supplies and materials relative to the rice and livestock production programs of the university.