Masbate gov charged with graft
The Ombudsman has formally charged with graft Masbate governor Antonio Kho, his former administrator and two suppliers for their involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004.
A year after announcing their indictment in September 2015, the Ombudsman filed graft charges before the Sandiganbayan against Kho, former provincial administrator Roger Rapsing who headed the bids and awards committee, and suppliers Alex Rivera and Victoria Ajero.
A number of local officials have been indicted for irregularities in the use of funds released to them shortly before the May 2004 elections, which then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won.
The Ombudsman questioned the Masbate provincial government’s use of the P5 million released by the Department of Agriculture in April 2004.
Kho reportedly approved the purchase of 7,143 bottles of Hexaplus liquid fertilizers at P700 per bottle, for a total P5 million. The purchase was paid in two tranches.
The Ombudsman said it uncovered “several irregularities in the procurement.”
It questioned why Kho insisted on directly contracting with a company that was found to have expired business permits and licenses from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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