GOVERNMENT investigators filed graft charges against 20 officials and employees of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) for buying defective CT scans worth P30.4 million.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation also sued the officials and three private citizens for violating the Procurement Act and for gross negligence and serious dishonesty.
The mental health center paid the supplier P24.5 million even if the equipment were inoperable, NBI said in a statement.
The procurement was split into four contracts worth a total of P30.4 million but the approved budget was only P26.8 million, it said.
The officials split the amounts “purposely to circumvent the requirements of the law and the necessity of competitive bidding,” NBI said.
It also said the officials accepted the delivery even if the suppliers failed to comply with the testing and commissioning provision of the contracts.
The center also allegedly failed to seek damages worth P4.8 million for the delayed delivery.
“What is more disadvantageous to the government is that the warranty provision lapsed while the entire CT scan project was neither functional nor operational,” NBI said.
The CT scan building was supposed to be built and bid out by phases but there was “no clear delineation of work for each phase and no detailed engineering activities” to justify the phases, NBI said, citing procurement documents.
In July last year, agents filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against officials and a contractor due to irregularities in the procurement and payment of the center’s pavilion worth P60.4 million. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas