Three current and previous officers of the National Printing Office are in hot water. This after the National Bureau of Investigation has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to file graft charges over alleged anomalous P74-million printing deal with four private companies.
The NBI said NPO Director Sherwin Prose Castaneda, former officer-in-charge Rolando Caluag, and retired employee Ruben Dancel were involved in graft and corrupt practices.
Also recommended for prosecution were officers of Western Visayas Printing Corporation vice president Edwin Malapajo, Bestforms Inc. president Benjamin Yam, Triprint Corporation. president Ramil Tamayo and Metrocolor Corp. general manager Celso Viray.
The graft case stemmed from the contract awarded by the Social Security System to the NPO for the bulk purchase of 870,000 pads of Contributions Payment Form for fiscal year 2016.
An investigation by NBI’s Anti-Fraud Division found that even though the NPO had already awarded the printing contract to Western Visayas Printing, 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 was disadvantageous to the government given that 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, where the NPO is supposed to simply rent the printing machines and use 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 reported.
“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.”
The investigation exposed the NPO had a (sic) “highly disadvantageous” 15 percent share of the profits from the deal, while 85 percent went to the private firms.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office requested the NBI to look into the NPO deal after a PCOO investigation uncovered alleged violations.
The National Printing Office is an attached agency of the PCOO which initiated a probe on the alleged anomaly late last year. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)