AMLC’s purchase of iPhone 7s flagged by COA

MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for buying 16 units of iPhone 7 worth P600,000 which weren’t specified in their Annual Procurement Plan or APP.

“We recommend that the management require the procurement office to comply with Section 7.2 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Government Procurement Act that all procurement should be within the approved budget, and be carefully planned to minimize or avoid deviations from the approved APP,” the COA said in its 2017 audit report of AMLC.

AMLC was able to have its budget approved for 24 Android smartphones at P25,000 each to be “used in the conduct of bank inquiry, surveillance and data gatherings by existing and additional number of financial investigators.”

However, AMLC ended up buying the more expensive iPhone 7 at P37,388 each. Because they had a budget of only P600,000, they bought only 16 iPhone 7s for P598,222.

This means that 8 investigators ended up with no new phones.

AMLC management said that they didn’t take into consideration during planning that they needed the more secure IOS of Apple, instead of the Android OS they planned to buy.

COA said that even so, it still violated Section 7 of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act which states that “all procurement should be within the approved budget of the procuring entity and should be meticulously and judiciously planned by the procuring entity concerned.”

AMLC’s Secretariat said they have prepared a set of guidelines to address the said issues. COA pointed out that the guidelines are still subject for approval by AMLC  executive director Mel Georgie Racela.

“We recommend that the management require the procurement office to ensure that the proposed guidelines in the preparation of the purchase requests is approved and implemented, and will address the delays in the procurement activities,” the COA said. –

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.