Sandiganbayan convicts Sorsogon Ex-Governor Raul Lee on 4 counts of graft

Former Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee. BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO

By BicolToday.com News Team

QUEZON CITY, 18Aug2017 – The Sandiganbayan on Friday, August 18, convicted former Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee from six to ten years imprisonment for each count of graft involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

The Sandiganbayan First Division handed down its decision that convicted Lee of four counts of graft for the purchase of overpriced fertilizers worth P3.2 million.

The Court also ordered Lee to pay the government total damages of P2,591,595.

The Court also convicted the provincial Chief Accountant Raul Hernandez, who was already deceased.  But, the Court has to get a copy of a notice of his death. Death of a convicted official writes off the criminal case.

Each graft conviction carries a penalty of six years and one-month imprisonment as minimum, and ten years as maximum.

Provincial treasurer Ofelia Velasco was acquitted by the Court from graft on the ground of reasonable doubt.

The violations started in 2004, for the overpriced purchased of 133 liters of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer at P1,500. per liter from supplier Fenshan Philippines, Inc. for a total cost of P199,500, whose real market price was only P180 per liter for a total of P23,940.

The former Governor’s conviction also stemmed from the 2004 purchase of 2,000 liters of fertilizers at P1,500 each for a total of P3 million, also which real market price was only P180 per liter, or a total of P360,000.

Lee is also convicted of two counts of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for giving undue benefit to Feshan Philippines without public bidding and causing injury to the government, as well as two counts for violating Section 3(g) for entering into a contract disadvantageous to the government.

The Sandiganbayan First Division said the prosecution was able to prove Lee and Hernandez guilty beyond reasonable doubt rendering them accountable for the disadvantageous contracts.

“The Court saw no justification on, why the province dispensed with public bidding and, instead directly procured the fertilizers from Feshan Philippines Inc. when the same products were available in the market at the lowest price at P285 per liter. There were likewise suitable substitutes at the most minimal price of P20 per six liters,” the court said in its decision.

“Viewing these prices side by side, the P1,500. per liter paid by the Province of Sorsogon for the Bio Nature Fertilizer obviously, reveals that the contract entered into by the province was manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government,” the court declared.

The decision was penned by Division chairperson Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz, concurred by Associate Justices Geraldine Econg and Bernelito Fernandez. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on August 18, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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