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Ex-NEDA head cleared

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 208

ANOTHER former government official involved in the controversial broadband deal was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan.

The Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan dismissed the graft case of former National  Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Romulo Neri over the allegedly overpriced national broadband network (NBN).

Last May, the Sandiganbayan also threw out the graft case of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos over the NBN deal.

During the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her government entered into a deal with Chinese firm ZTE for the broadband project amounting to $329 million but this was cancelled due to questions about its regularity.

In its decision, the anti-graft court granted the demurrer to evidence filed by Neri who sought the dismissal of the graft case filed against him in 2010.
   
“Here, we find the evidence of the prosecution insufficient to sustain the charges or justify a verdict of guilt. The prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving that accused Neri violated Section 3(h) of the Republic Act 3019 by proof beyond reasonable doubt for its failure to satisfactorily establish that said accused had financial or pecuniary interest, directly or indirectly, in the subject NBN-ZTE deal,” the court said.
   
Neri is facing a separate graft case before the anti-graft court Fourth Division for causing undue injury to government in the broadband deal.