THE Commission on Audit (CoA) said the National Electrification Administration (NEA) released P10.45-billion worth of subsidies to 102 electric cooperatives between 2012 and 2014, while failing to fully account for previously released subsidies.

“The intervals between releases of funds were too close and sometimes simultaneous and apparently, without taking into consideration the liquidation of previous/prior releases as required by relevant regulations,” CoA said in a special audit report.

The report showed that 1,301 transactions were continuously processed and funds were released to the 102 electric cooperatives which resulted in accumulation of the unliquidated subsidies.

“In addition, the actual cost incurred for particular projects cannot be ascertained; thus, any excess in subsidies cannot be established at this time for refund to NEA,” the state auditors said.

In the report, the management of NEA responded that only P403 million of the released subsidies from 2012 to 2014 remained unliquidated as of March 22, 2019.

NEA noted that it issued a memorandum on April 6, 2017 to all electric cooperatives which notified them that the liquidation of subsidy funds released for completed projects was to form part of the electric cooperatives’ overall assessment.

The management also required electric cooperatives to return excess subsidies. NEA said that a total of P207-million worth of excess funds were returned as of Dec. 31, 2018.

NEA said it sent letters to electric cooperatives requiring them to submit supporting documents for liquidation. CoA noted that the continuous process and release of subsidies remained an issue.

“The Audit Team’s observation that NEA continuously processed and released subsidies even without liquidating first prior or previous funds given to the ECs was not acted upon,” it said.

CoA recommended that NEA “comply strictly with the prescribed guidelines for the release of subsidies and if possible, initiate a ‘no liquidation, no subsidy’ policy to safeguard the funds.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras