Ex-PNR top official convicted of graft for illegal deals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — The Sandiganbayan has found Manuel Andal, former general manager of the Philippine National Railways, guilty of graft for illegally approving contracts in 2009.

“Considering the amounts involved in these cases, the Court finds it proper to impose the indeterminate penalty of eight years and one month as minimum, to twelve years as maximum,” the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division said in a decision dated Jan. 22.

Andal was ordered perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

He was also asked by the court to reimburse the government P86.5 million, which is the amount of public funds unlawfully spent in one of the transactions.

Andal was charged with two graft cases for entering contracts with Pandrol Korea Limited and Nikka Trading.

The court said Andal violated laws when he purchased railways materials from Pandrol Korea Limited without a certification from the transportation secretary.

“Accused Andal clearly gave unwarranted benefit and advantage to said company because he already committed the government to the transaction even without the DOTC Secretary’s review,” the decision read.

He was also found to have favored Nikka Trading as he entered a contract with the company without holding public bidding.

Furthermore, the court found that there was no need for the PNR to purchase the same items from Nikka Trading.

“Hence, it was clearly shown that the government suffered damage in the amount of P86,505,000.00,” the court said.