City accountant’s dismissal over 14-year records backlog affirmed

City accountant’s dismissal over 14-year records backlog affirmed

MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the dismissal of a city accountant for gross neglect of duty over her failure to accomplish the local government’s banking records for 14 years.

In a decision dated Oct. 19, the CA’s 20th Division dismissed the petition filed by Guihulngan City accountant Genevieve Lim Seno and affirmed the Aug. 17, 2017 decision of the Office of the Ombudsman ordering her dismissal from the service.

A similar charge filed against then-mayor Carlo Jorge Joan Reyes was dismissed for lack of merit by the Ombudsman.

From 1999 to 2013, Seno failed to accomplish the required monthly Bank Reconciliation Statements (BRS) and to submit the same to the concerned auditor for verification.

In its 2013 annual audit report on the city, the Commission on Audit (COA) said as a result of the failure to submit the required BRS, an unreconciled balance of PHP4.109 million exists between the cash per bank and per the city’s books.

The COA noted that with the deficiencies, the book balance of cash as of 2013 was unreliable and recommended to the mayor that competent personnel be assigned to concentrate on the preparation of the BRS and likewise recommended that the inexistent bank accounts be investigated.

In 2014, Seno still failed to accomplish and submit the BRS to COA even after demand letters were sent.

In 2016, the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman filed a complaint against Mayor Reyes and Seno for gross neglect of duty and or grave misconduct.

On Aug. 17, 2017, the Ombudsman found Seno guilty and imposed on her the penalty of dismissal from service, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Seno, meanwhile, said the Ombudsman failed to consider that she actually did something to address the issue and that “the transactions of Guihulngan, from that of a municipality to being converted into a city, had multiplied exponentially such that it was no longer humanly possible for the petitioner to singlehandedly address the problem of preparing the bank reconciliation statements”.

Ruling against her, the CA said Seno “failed to exercise prudence, caution, and attention in the performance of her duty since 1999,” and that her “repeated or habitual negligence clearly shows flagrant and intentional disregard of the duties of her office with a conscious indifference to the consequences”. (PNA)

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