MAYOR Celso Lobregat has asked the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to conduct a fair, accurate and comprehensive audit of the operations of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) in the light of alleged controversies afflicting it.

Lobregat wrote Monday NEA administrator Edith Bueno requesting the agency to do the audit based on authorization granted to him by the City Council through a resolution.

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"I believe that the as of the moment the more appropriate action is to ask NEA to conduct the audit," Lobregat said banking on an assurance from the administrator that if and when the agency decides to accept the task, the same will be a fair, objective, accurate and comprehensive audit.

Earlier, Lobregat personally called last June 24 the NEA administrator after the City Council authorized him to commission an independent body to audit the operations of Zamcelco in view of mounting complaints on alleged irregularities.

A few hours after his talk over the phone with Bueno, a NEA audit team which happened to be in the city for another transaction with Zamcelco, met with the mayor at City Hall to preliminary discuss about issues and concerns besetting the cooperative.

The NEA is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) with numerous powers that include the close monitoring of performance of electric cooperatives in the country including Zamcelco.

According to Lobregat the audit proposed to be conducted will be a comprehensive one that will include the financial audit, technical audit, institutional audit and all other aspects.

Tapping the NEA instead of an independent auditor would eliminate the long process of auditing, he said.

He said that if an independent body will conduct the audit, the results will have to be submitted to NEA for proper action.

Lobregat said the NEA, which has been regularly conducting audits of Zamcelco operations can speed up the audit to cover the coop's operations until the end of 2009 or until June 30, 2010.

He mayor is confident that the NEA will accept the request citing the audit, based on initial talks with the NEA administrator, is expected to last three to four weeks.

The last NEA audit on Zamcelco operations covered he period April 2007 to August 2009.

Auditing operations technical, financial and all other aspects of electric cooperatives, is one of the mandate of the NEA.

Aside from writing the NEA, the mayor also wrote the City Council informing the august body about the action he has taken as a result of the resolution. (Bong Garcia)