MANILA — The Sandiganbayan convicted a former regional director of the Department of Education for graft and malversation of public funds in connection with P6.347 million in missing funds.
Former DepEd-Zamboanga director Jesus Nieves earlier claimed that his co-accused, an accountant, tricked him into diverting the funds from a closed bank account into what he supposedly thought was the payroll of agency employees.
But in a decision promulgated Friday, the Sandiganbayan First Division said that since the bank account for the Belgian Integrated Agrarian Reform Support Program was no longer used, Nieves "took the chance that any disbursements from it would no longer be monitored."
The court sentenced Nieves to 6 to 10 years of imprisonment for graft and 15 to 17 years for malversation. It also fined him P6.347 million.
His co-accused Virginia Montero passed away during trial. The court acquitted her, saying she followed government procedures.
Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg penned the ruling, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Efren de la Cruz and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona.
Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News