Ex-Sulu execs convicted of graft, malversation

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    FORMER Sulu Governor Yusop Hussin Jikiri and former Department of Agriculture Region 11 executive director Oscar O. Parawan have been convicted by the Sandiganbayan on charges of graft and malversation of public funds in relation to anomalous procurement of agricultural supplies worth P3.25 million 16 years ago.

    In a 55-page decision issued by the anti-graft court’s Third Division, they were sentenced to six to 10 years imprisonment for the graft case and 10 to 16 years for the crime of malversation of public funds, or a total of 16 to 26 years.

    They were also barred from ever handling another position in government, aside from being ordered to pay P3.25 million as fine and to indemnify the provincial government of Sulu in the same amount.

    Two other defendants, former provincial accountant Kussah Lasa Jumsali and former provincial treasurer Amilkadra Amilasan, are subject of arrest warrants issued by the court.

    In separate criminal information filed in 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman accused the four of causing undue injury to the government by approving the purchase of P3.25 million worth of soil conditioner and fertilizer from private supplier Rim Allied Merchandise (RAM) without conducting any public bidding, absence of a project proposal or financial plan, and issuance of a purchase order even before the funds became available.

    “The actions of Jikiri and Parawan are of a nature wherein there is actual cooperation, indicative of an agreement, with a common purpose or design, a concerted action or concurrence of sentiments to commit the felony,” the Sandiganbayan said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Ronald B. Moreno.

    Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez concurred in the ponencia that Jikiri’s actions showed he had extended preference for RAM when he signed the purchase order on April 4, 2004 or 22 days ahead of the execution of the a memorandum of agreement between the DA and the provincial government.