NBI 7: Elusive documents hamper trash deal probe

·3 min read

THE National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) has made little progress on its probe on the alleged anomalous multimillion-peso garbage deal of the Cebu City Government due to a lack of documents provided by the parties involved.

NBI Central Visayas Director Rennan Oliva told SunStar Cebu Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, that they cannot dig deeper into the case in the absence of the documents from City Hall, contractors, and the Commission on Audit (COA).

In a 2021 audit report, the COA had flagged the Cebu City Government’s P383 million garbage collection deal with Docast Construction and JJ & J Construction and General Supply.

The state auditors said the two companies failed to meet the City’s requirements, which made them ineligible to provide the service.

COA found that the two companies’ primary business was not logistics or hauling services but construction and general supply.

Another issue raised by the COA was the firms’ hauling of garbage even before the City’s Bids and Awards Committee had conducted the post-qualification stage.

Oliva said they had asked COA to submit to the NBI the documents they referred to when conducting the audit report.

Last July 28, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama urged all City Hall department heads to cooperate with the NBI’s investigation, saying, “I instructed the offices concerned to provide the NBI salient documents it had asked for to complete its investigation on an apparent garbage plunder.”

On Thursday, Oliva said they had already talked with the city treasurer about the documents that will be needed to expedite the investigation.

Oliva said the City Government had submitted the documents but these were not certified true copies as required by the agency.

“Nagrequest pud ta og documents sa contractor, pero dili pa kompleto,” he said.

(We also requested documents from the contractor, but these are not yet complete.)

The NBI 7 had issued a subpoena to City Treasurer Mare Vae Reyes to appear before its office on Aug. 9. NBI 7 requested Reyes to bring documents including copies of certified disbursement vouchers in connection with the disposal services provided by Docast and JJ & J from June to December 2021, the contracts of service, award of bidding, billing statement and summary of deliveries.

Oliva said Thursday that they also struggled to get COA’s documents since the latter has requested a court order.

“We gave them a letter at first, but they cited to us that they cannot provide until we can secure a court order for the documents we have requested, so we resorted to using our subpoena power,” Oliva said in Cebuano.

The NBI also requested documents from ARN Central Waste Management Inc., the company that handled the weighing of the garbage upon its arrival at the disposal site.

Oliva said they asked for the certified true copy of the trip tickets or trip passes and invoices issued to the truck drivers of Docast and JJ & J.

The NBI also requested certified true copies of all the billings given to the two firms involved in the deal.

Oliva hopes the involved parties will cooperate since this is not the only case the NBI 7 is working on.

Reports of scams and bank account hacking are now proliferating in the region, he said.