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BOC chief, 2 other former execs face plunder, graft complaints

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(Bureau of Customs logo)

(Bureau of Customs logo)

MANILA, July 2 (Mabuhay) – Customs commissioner Alberto Lina and two former commissioners face plunder and graft complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman in another purported instance of conflict of interest – a cancelled P650 million customs processing system contract that went to a company linked to Lina.

In a 30-page complaint affidavit filed before the Ombudsman on Thursday, Annabelle Margaroli, a representative of Omniprime Marketing, filed the complaint against Lina and former Customs commissioner Guillermo Parayno Jr. and former deputy commissioner Primo Aguas.

The complainant, represented by Atty. Harry Roque, alleged that the respondents canceled a P650-million contract for a Bureau of Customs (BOC) computer integrated system that would have served as a single entry point for import and export transactions. The complainant said the system offered by Omniprime would have curbed rampant smuggling in the country.

The complainants said resigned Customs commissioner John Sevilla awarded the contract to winning bidder Omniprime. But when Lina took over, he cancelled the contract just two weeks since he assumed office.

Lina supposedly said he had to cancel the contract to review all projects of BOC, the complainants said.

Because the old customs processing system would have to remain because of the canceled contract, Lina gave undue favor to E-Konek Pilipinas, the existing service provider of the BOC where Lina and his family has a 96.48 percent stake, the complainant said.

Parayno is also the President of E-Konek, the complainant said.

“The cancellation by Lina was a grave instance of a criminal conflict of interest, manifest illegal partiality and malevolent bad faith because it benefitted E-Konek Pilipinas,” the complainant said.

“E-Konek Pilipinas as an existing service provider of the BOC stands to continue reaping benefits from the perpetuation of the current inefficient and dysfunctional system,” the complainant added.

Meanwhile, the respondents are also liable for plunder because the system managed by E-Konek is valued between P100 million and P500 million annually.

The complainant said Lina and Aguas conspired to give benefit to E-Konek and thus to give financial perks to Lina and his business in the amount of not less than P50 million, or the threshold for plunder.

In an interview after the filing, Atty. Roque said Lina should also be charged for plunder over the clearance he gave for the release of the equipment of broadcast company GMA Network handled by two corporations linked to him—U-Freight and 2100 CB.

Lina allegedly ordered the release of broadcasting equipment belonging to GMA Network Inc. that had been ordered held by his predecessor, Sevilla, for relying on “false” import permits from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

Lina ordered the lifting of the BOC-issued alert order on the shipment that was handled by 2100 Customs Brokerage or 2100 CB–one of his companies—and stored in a Pasay city warehouse of U-Freight, also one of his companies.

Roque added that Lina should be liable for plunder because he allegedly refused to act on charges against U-Freight and another company linked to him, Nague Malic Magnawa and Associates Customs Brokers, over the missing 771 shipments of airplane parts worth P1.5 billion for Zest Air.(MNS)

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