2017 COA Reports: Pandan treasurer encashed LGU funds for personal use
posted 3-Sep-2018  ·  
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The former municipal treasurer of Pandan town may be held liable for misappropriation of government funds after she encashed LGU checks and utilized the proceeds for her personal use, the Commission on Audit reported.

In its Annual Audit Report covering last year’s transactions of the local government, the COA said that its examination of the accountability of the treasurer showed that there were checks issued as inter-fund transfer from the General Fund to other funds that were encashed instead of having the checks deposited to the accounts of the LGU with the authorized government depository bank.

On May 4, 2016, the COA stated, LBP check number 0478667 in the amount of P308,651.98 was drawn in the name of treasurer Anita Abines in a fund transfer from the General Fund to the Special Education Fund (SEF).

The amount transferred was acknowledged in the SEF books by official receipt No. 3880592 dated May 12, 2016. However, instead of being deposited in the LGU account, the check was encashed by the treasurer the following day, as evidenced by her signature at the back of the check.

“The proceeds from the encashment of the check remained in the possession and control of the Treasurer for more than nine (9) months and deposited in full only on February 14, 2017, indicative that the money was utilized for her personal use contrary to Section 4(2) of PD No. 1445,” it stated.

In a similar case, the report said, LBP check No. 0487036 dated May 3, 2017 in the amount of P480,000.00 and drawn in the name of the treasurer was encashed by the latter on May 6. The check was supposed to be deposited as counterpart fund of the LGU in the KALAHI-CIDDS project.

The P480,000.00 was in the hands of the treasurer for 116 days until on Aug. 29, 2017 when it was finally deposited in the bank.

“It must be noted that the checks were drawn as fund transfers to SEF and Trust Fund and definitely the funds has specific purpose,” the COA noted. “Although the checks were drawn in the name of the municipal treasurer, these were not cash advance checks, hence encashment is contrary to law and regulation.”

During the exit conference, the auditors were informed that treasurer Abines had retired effective Feb. 2, 2018, but the LGU did not clear her from money accountability.

In another adverse finding, the audit team discovered that the Early Childhood Care and Development program was not implemented in Pandan within the prescribed period.

The audit showed that on May 17, 2017, the ECCD Council and the municipality executed a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of ECCD programs, including construction of the P2.3 million National Child Development Center (NCDC) intended to promote optimum growth and development of Filipino children ages 0 to 6 years old.

Under the MOA, Pandan is supposed to provide the project site and perimeter fence, implement the project within 210 days, provide funds for maintenance and other operating expenses, and provide a certified development teacher.

However, as of Dec. 31, 2017, the project was not yet completed when it was supposed to be done by Aug. 18, 2017.

The auditors said the failure of the LGU to accomplish the projects meant the optimum benefit was not achieved and the possibility of refunding the total amount of fund released may be imposed.

Among the other significant findings in the report were: failure to utilize P20.28 million in the 20% Economic Development Fund (EDF); no approved 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan; failure to mark its P1.5-million Montero Sports SUV with “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” markings; cash advances for social pensions of the treasurer exceeded the allowable maximum cash accountability;  unliquidated cash advances for travel in the amount of P412,803.50; failure of the treasurer to deposit intact the full amount of her collections, resulting in the accumulation of such undeposited amounts to over P1 million; and failure to acquire titles to lots where buildings and other structures have been constructed.

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