Graft raps vs printing office execs pushed

posted July 24, 2017 at 12:01 am by Rio N. Araja

THE National Bureau of Investigation is urging the Office of the Ombudsman to file graft charges against incumbent and former officials of the National Printing Office over an allegedly anomalous printing deal worth P74 million with three private companies.

In a seven-page transmittal letter, the NBI accused NPO director Sherwin Prose Castañeda, former officer-in-charge Rolando Caluag, and retired employee Ruben Dancel of violation of graft.

The NBI also recommended for prosecution Western Visayas Printing Corp. vice president Edwin Malapajo, Bestforms Inc. president Benjamin Yam, Triprint Corp. president Ramil Tamayo, and Metrocolor Corp. general manager Celso Viray.

The charges arose from a multi-million contract awarded by the Social Security System to the NPO for the bulk purchase of 870,000 pads of contributions payment forms for fiscal year 2016.

A preliminary investigation by the NBI’s Anti-Fraud Division found that even though the NPO had already awarded the printing contraact to Western Visayas Printing Corp., work orders were still granted to three other firms: Best Forms Security Printer for P34 million, Tri-Print Work for P27 million, and Metro Color for P15 million.

The NBI said the agreements entered into by the respondents were disadvantageous to the government, saying the printing machines were not under the control of the NPO.

The paper, ink and other consumables used for the printers also came from the same firms without proper public bidding.

“This is contrary to a proper contact of lease, wherein the NPO is supposed to simply rent the printing machines and use them for its printing jobs. This printing machine, owing to the security nature of the printing jobs, should also be within the control of the NPO and operated by its personnel,” the NBI said.

“The NPO only occasionally sends a representative to the lessor-printers plant who inspects the machine. This is precisely why during our interview with NPO personnel, they cannot assure us that the printing by private printers are strictly controlled and there can be no possibility of over printing.”

According to the NBI, NPO had a “highly disadvantageous” 15-percent share of the profits from the deal, while 85 percent went to the private firms.

“This is clearly disadvantageous to the government and punishable under Republic Act No. 3019,” the complaint read.

“While the NPO was paid P2.5 million for the project, the NPO had to pay the rental fee to the lessor printer in the amount of P2.1 million, which is more or less equivalent to 85 percent of the printing project. This is clearly disadvantageous to the government and punishable under RA 3019 also known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office requested the NBI to probe the NPO deals to validate PCOO’s finding on alleged violations of the Government Procurement Reform Act and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The NPO is an attached agency of the PCOO.