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Misuari faces graft charges

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against former Regional Governor Nur Misuari of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for the anomalous procurement of educational materials worth P137.5 million in 2000 to 2001.

Misuari is facing before the Sandiganbayan three counts of malversation of public funds and three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (CoA), Morales said the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials totaling P137.5 million were irregular.

The investigation disclosed that Misuari approved the payment of the educational materials to Publishing House of Caloocan City, P46 million; White Orchids Printing and Publishing House, P37 million; Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City, P12 million; Dunong Publishing of Parañaque City, P21 million and MBJ Learning Tool of Caloocan City, 19 million.

Flagrant red flags were noted in the procurement such as lack of public bidding, undated and unnumbered procurement documents, absence of contracts, and and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers.

According to Ombudsman Morales, “the Office finds probable cause that Misuari [and respondents] conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, [acting] with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement.”

Also included as co-accused are former DepEd ARMM Executives Director Leovigilda Cinches, Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman, Accountant Alladin Usi, Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri, Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha, COA Auditor Nader Macagaan. (JUN RAMIREZ)