Graft raps vs ex-governor

THE Office of the Ombudsman has indicted former Iloilo governor Niel Tupas Sr. and three others for graft in connection with an alleged questionable payment of a private firm for the provincial government’s unconsummated electricity of P4 million.

Also charged  with  graft for violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) before the Sandiganbayan were ex-provincial accountant Lyd Tupas, ex-assistant department head of the office of the provincial accountant Sandra Bionat and ex-general services department head Ramie Salcedo.

The Ombudsman said Tupas and his co-accused used their positions in “conspiring with one another” to give “unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference” to Green Core Geothermal Inc. by approving the release of P4,007,111.91 to the company from December 2009 to April 2010.

The case arose from a 2007 contract between the Iloilo government and the National Power Corp.. which was later assumed by NPC’s successor Green Core, for the bulk supply of electricity from Sept. 26, 2007 to Dec. 25, 2011 to facilitate the construction of the Iloilo multipurpose convention center.

Even if the construction of the convention center did not push through, the provincial government still paid Greencore P5.88 million for the billing period of December 2009 to April 2010.

The Ombudsman said the actual electricity consumption of the province only amounted to P1.88 million.

“This is to certify that a preliminary investigation has been conducted in this case, that there is a sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that the crime charged has been committed, and that the accused are probably guilty thereof,” the Ombudsman’s complaint read.

The graft rap was raffled off to the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan. Tupas Sr. is the father of incumbent Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

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