3 DSWD officers get 8-years for anomalous medical transactions

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DAVAO CITY –— The Sandiganbayan has found three officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) liable for corruption in connection with anomalies in the awarding of a government contract for medicines worth over PHP5 million in Cotabato City in 2001.

In a recent decision, the anti-graft court’s Sixth Division convicted former DSWD regional director Kunesa Sedik Sekak, and social welfare officers Fatima Abobakas and Jesus Enjambre Flores for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) and sentenced them to up to eight years in prison.

They were also found liable for the PHP5.781 million, equivalent to the value of the contract illegally awarded by them as the bids and awards committee of DSWD Field Office 12 and were found guilty of awarding the contract to Pharmazel Inc. without public bidding and giving unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference to the firm.

The case against a fourth accused, Bai Monerah Abas-Asim, was dismissed after she died before the termination of the proceedings.

“There was evident bad faith and manifest partiality on the accused when they did not conduct a public bidding despite the knowledge that it was required under the circumstances,” the court said.

It added that the procurement exceeded the prescribed cost limit of PHP1 million under shopping as a method of procurement.

“Medicines are considered supplied under procurement laws. However, the purchase of the medicines did not fall in any of the instances of shopping because the cost of the medicines was beyond the PHP1 million limit for shopping,” the tribunal said.-PNA

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