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Ex-Butuan City mayor charged over P15.4-M CT scan mess

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 7/12/2018 Bordadora, Norman
Sandiganbayan thumbnail © Jannielyn Bigtas, GMA News Sandiganbayan thumbnail

Former Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. has been charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan over the disbursement of P15.4 million allegedly to make it appear the local government purchased a donated Computerized Tomography (CT) scan machine.

Assistant Special Prosecutor Jorge Espinal of the Office of the Ombudsman filed one count each of violation of Section 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Amante.

From November 2012 to June 2013, Amante allegedly approved the release of funds in favor of World Medical Relief-Philippine National Business and Coordination Center Inc. of Panabo City.

The P15.4 million was meant as payment for the purchase of one unit of a used Mobile Siemens Biograph Duo Positron Emission Tomography-CT Scan Machine as well as its import duties, transportation and storage fees.

The Ombudsman, however, said Amante approved the payment even if he knew fully well that the CT scan machine was a donation from the World Medical Relief Inc. of Michigan in the United States.

Amante is also faulted for his failure to ensure the functionality of the CT scan machine, which was found to be non-operational and unusable, before allowing its importation to the Philippines in June 2013.

Furthermore, the Ombudsman said the contract was found to be disadvantageous to the government when the expected incidental expenses for the acquisition of the CT scan machine was only pegged at P1.5 million.

A total bail bond of P60,000 has been recommended for Amante's provisional liberty. —NB, GMA News

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