Ex-gov Ampatuan faces graft charges

A former governor of Maguindanao is facing charges of graft, malversation of public funds and failure of accountable officer to render account before the Sandiganbayan for the questionable P500-million construction of farm-to-market roads in 2009.

The Office of the Ombudsman indicted ex-governor Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, along with provincial treasurer Osmeña Bandila, accountant John Estelito Dollosa and state auditor Danny Calib of the Commission on Audit.

In June 2009, the provincial government entered into several memoranda of agreement with the Department of Agrarian Reform for the construction and rehabilitation of the province’s farm-to-market roads with a project cost of P500 million. 

Despite repeated demands from DAR to account for the funds, Ampatuan and the other accused failed to submit supporting documents, such as liquidation reports, list of beneficiaries and certificates of acceptance to support the disbursement of funds and implementation of the project.  

“The roads were in bad condition and far shorter than the reported lengths, and the reported accomplishments were no longer visible, are sufficient proof to engender a well-founded belief that public funds were misappropriated for respondents Ampatuan, Bandila, Dollosa and Calib’s own private use or benefit,” the CoA report read.

 The Ombudsman’s resolution read:    “As the head and representative of the province, respondent Ampatuan was primarily tasked by the MoAs to receive the funds and to oversee the implementation of the projects.” 

“There is no dispute that the province received the funds.  The investigation conducted by the CoA, however, belie the assertion that the projects were implemented. 

“On the other hand, respondents Bandila, Dollosa and Calib tried to make it appear that the projects were implemented by executing Certificate No. 02 which states that the amount of P499,999,850 out of the PhP 500,000,000 of the funds obtained from DAR was disbursed by the Province from June 2009 to September 2009.

“These circumstances sufficiently establish that respondents Ampatuan, Bandila, Dollosa and Calib came to an agreement concerning the misappropriation of the funds and decided to commit the same.”

Topics: Sandiganbayan , Maguindanao , Department of Agrarian Reform , Commission on Audit , Sajid Islam Ampatuan
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