Dimaporo Couple Face Graft Raps

MANILA, Philippines --- Lanao del Norte Governor Abdullah Dimaporo and his congresswoman-wife Imelda have been charged with graft and corruption in connection with the alleged misappropriation of more than Php 50 million in public funds.

The 14-page criminal complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman by Mayor Rafael Rizalda of Maigo, Lanao del Norte, last May 25 but was only disclosed over the weekend.

Rizalda charged the Dimaporos of violating the anti-plunder law (Republic Act 7080) and malversation of public funds (RA 217).

Also included in the complaints were Lanao del Norte provincial treasurer Mildred Hingco, provincial accountant Fe Baldoza, provincial administrator Jesus Tubio, and provincial auditor Sebastian Israel.

The case stemmed from the alleged released of provincial funds to the Lanao Foundation, Inc. (LFI) allegedly owned by Abdullah.

The mayor claimed one of the projects of the foundation was the importation of high-breed cattle for distribution to farmers, but they ended up in the farm of the Dimaporos in Mamagum, Sultan Naga Dimaporo.

According to Rizalda, it was Abdullah who instructed his wife, who was then governor in 2005, to release the funds to the account of the foundation.

Rizalda said "this is a blatant violation of the Local Government Code which states that no public money shall be appropriated for religious or private purpose."

"To cover their plundering act, the foundation's financial statement for 2005 was falsified as no amount of Php 50 million was reflected either as donation or loan, with the entire board of trustees of LFI knowing and had direct participation on it." Rizalda alleged.

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