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MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has sentenced Masaranga Umpa, former Ambassador to Nigeria (1996 to 2008) and former Assemblyman of Lanao Del Norte, to suffer 10 to 17 years of imprisonment for three counts of malversation of public funds, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales announced Tuesday.
Morales said Umpa’s case stemmed from the misuse of the Assistance-To-Nationals (ATN) Stand-by Funds totaling US$80,478.80 or equivalent to P3,749,948.98.
Aside from the prison term, Morales said Umpa was also meted out the penalty of perpetual special disqualification from holding public office and to indemnify the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) the amount of US$80,478.80 or the equivalent of P3,749,948.98.
“Ombudsman prosecutors were able to prove that in February 2007, the Philippine Embassy to Nigeria received US$95,856.08 to cover expenses needed for the negotiations and repatriation of 25 Filipino seafarers who were kidnapped in Port Harcourt and Warri Delta State, Nigeria,” Morales said.
In 2008, the DFA created an Internal Audit Service (IAS) Team to conduct special audit on certain transactions including ATN Stand-by Funds. Prosecutors presented the results of the independent verification made by the IAS Team, which showed that liquidation documents were fabricated and that several transactions or expenses, as reported by Umpa, were never availed of.
The anti-graft court stated that, as a Head of Post and Head of Negotiating Team, “when accused received and had in his possession and custody the said ATN Funds in both capacities, he was not only accountable for said fund but was also immediately and primarily responsible” and that “he cannot legally pass on or transfer his accountability and primary responsibility for said ATN Funds to his AO (Administrative Officer) and FO (Finance Officer), because, as head of the government agency who received and entrusted with government fund, he was still accountable.”
The Sandiganbayan took cognizance of the accused’s “extensive background in accounting and auditing, having been an Auditor in the COA for 12 years, these irregularities in the disbursement of the ATN Funds would not have missed his attention, and he could have easily detected them.”

UP TO 17 YEARS IN JAIL | Sandiganbayan convicts ex-envoy to Nigeria for malversation–sandiganbayan-convicts-ex-envoy-to-nigeria-for-malversation