The National Bureau of Investigation has recommended the filing of graft charges against Butuan Mayor Ferdinand Amante for spending more than P15 million for a PET/CT scan machine that was only donated to the city.
In his recommendation to the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao dated Dec. 8, 2015, NBI Caraga Regional Director Celso Ginga stressed that there was probable cause to pursue violation of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act charges against Amante.
The NBI report stemmed from a complaint filed by City Councilor Sergio Pascual regarding the anomalous transfer of the PET/CT scan machine from World Medical Relief Inc.
Ginga explained that Amante violated RA 3019 for giving undue benefits to a private party in his performance of duty.
“Although the PET/CT scan machine was acquired by way of donation by the Butuan City Government through Mayor Amante Jr. from World Medical Relief Inc., it has been found that said LGU had spent P15,485,084.12 as of Dec. 31, 2013 for the cost of customs duties, freight and handling and incidental expenses in the importation of said equipment,” said Ginga.
The PET/CT scan machine arrived on June 6, 2013 at the Butuan City Medical Center but before this, or on Sept. 28, 2012, Amante paid World Medical Relief Inc. P7.7 million for import duties and other expenses.
On Jan. 16, 2013, Amante withdrew P7.5 million from the account of Butuan LGU as cash advance for payment of import duties for the PET/CT scan machine.
In total, Amante spent P15,485,084.12 for the PET/CT scan, which was not utilized until now due to lack of software to run it.
Before this, Amante was also allegedly involved in the overpriced P120-million heavy equipment deal that the court stopped recently.