ADB, World Bank demand special audit of COVID-19 vaccine purchases — COA chair
MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank have demanded a special audit of the loans they granted to the Philippine government to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Gamaliel Cordoba disclosed this on Tuesday, adding that he had made a commitment to a complete audit of funds used for the purchase of vaccines.
“You have our commitment na hindi kami papayag na hindi ma-audit itong government expenditure na ito lalong-lalo na na ‘yung mga nagpautang sa atin, the World Bank and the ADB, ay nagpapa-special audit na po para dito,” he said during the hearing on his ad-interim appointment.
(You have our commitment that we will not allow these funds will not be audited, especially as the World Bank and ADB have already asked for a special audit.)
During the hearing, Senator Risa Hontiveros noted that the COA has yet to audit public funds used to procure COVID-19 vaccines because of the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) entered into by the Philippine government and the vaccine suppliers.
Cordoba said the Department of Health had already sent a letter to COA asking for a complete audit of the vaccine deals as the ADB and the World Bank required them to liquidate the loans granted to the Philippine government.
He also clarified that NDAs did not bind the vaccine deals and that COA auditors were already coordinating with the DOH to secure copies of contracts and other documents related to procuring COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our resident auditor will issue a demand letter for the documents and if they [do not] comply, we have to issue a notice of suspension and go through the process of notice of disallowance. We will seek other legal processes which may include issuance of a subpoena,” Cordoba said.
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