2019News

COA speeds up abolition of two agencies linked to P10B ‘pork barrel’ scam

By Ben Rosario, April 6 2019; Manila Bulletin

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/04/06/coa-speeds-up-abolition-of-two-agencies-linked-to-p10b-pork-barrel-scam/

Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

The Commission on Audit has ordered the completion of paperwork for the swift and full abolition of two graft-ridden state-owned firms that former President Benigno Aquino III ordered dissolved five years ago for involvement in the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

In separate 2018 annual audit reports that were released recently, COA said the designated Transition Management Committees (TMC) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) assigned to the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) and the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation should fast track the remaining paper works for the complete dissolution of the two state run agribusiness corporations.

The former NABCOR management is liable to audit disallowances totaling P406.255 million which became final and executory but have not been recorded in the firm’s books.

On the other hand, state auditors said that as of December 31, 2018, the former ZREC management incurred a total unsettled audit disallowances amounting to P252.6 million.

Additional P9.688 million in disallowances issued after an audit review have remained unrecorded.

Former President Aquino III ordered the abolition of Nabcor in 2014, and ZREC a year earlier after the two firms were found to have been used by corrupt lawmakers as conduits in defrauding government of an estimated P10 billion in pork barrel allocations.

The scam has been blamed on detained businesswoman Janet Napoles, as the alleged mastermind, and former and current members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Under the presidential directive, the firms’ assets, liabilities, and surplus were also supposed to be transferred to the Department of Agriculture.

“The closure of the books of Nabcor is yet to be undertaken and the assets, liabilities, and surplus were not yet transferred to DA,” the audit report stated.

On the other hand, the failure to record the P406.2 million disallowances in the books of Nabcor “understated” the receivable to be transferred to DA “which will not facilitate the monitoring of the collection” of the disallowed disbursements.

Collectibles

“We recommended that the TMC direct the TWG for Financial Assessment to record the disallowances to ensure that the receivables will be collected from concerned persons liable,” the COA report stated.

State auditors also ordered the TMC and TWG’s to “fast track the liquidation and dissolution of the Nabcor by establishing timelines of activities,” among others.

COA has also expressed concern over the unsettled P252.6 audit disallowances incurred by former officials ZREC.

The audit agency lamented that there have been delays in the “liquidation and complete abolition” of the firm as activities aimed at closing the books and at transferring ZREC account and balances to the DA have yet to commence.

“The previous Management of ZREC, as well as the TMC and the TWGs have not yet complied with Section 122 of the Corporation Code of the Philippines on the cancellation of registration of ZREC with SEC. Thus, remaining funds of ZREC were exposed to garnishment due to penalties and interest,” said the audit agency.

According to the audit report, ZREC has a total liability of P356.76 million, including payment of employees affected by its dissolution.

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