Erice, Gutierrez face Customs probe over export duties
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to look into the possible criminal liabilities of two Liberal Party (LP) officials over the multibillion-peso exports of their mining firm to China.
In a letter, lawyer Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR undersecretary for climate change service and mining concerns, asked the BOC to investigate Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice and LP financier Eric Gutierrez for possible improper payment of customs duties and taxes on the nickle ore shipments of SR Metals Inc. (SRMI) to China.
The BOC was specifically asked to determine if there was undervaluation and misdeclaration of the nickel ore shipments by SRMI to China from its mining operations since 2006.
Teh’s letter was based on the complaint filed by Basiana Mining Exploration Corp. (BMEC).
“In view of the above, may we refer the matter to you for possible investigation of the alleged failure of SRMI to properly declare the dutiable value of the extracted ores,” read the letter.
BMEC alleged that SRMI generated over P28 billion in ore sales over the past 10 years without government records of tax payments to either the local government in Agusan del Norte or the national government.
It accused the mining firm of possible violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
“The small-scale mining operation in just one year beginning 2006 had sold P2.8 billion — and exceeded the yearly 50,000-ton limit many times over. Within a decade, SRMI had realized over P28 billion in revenues from nickel ore shipments to China, as records of the Philippine Ports Authority and MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) would show,” alleged the complaint of BMEC’s Rodney Basiana filed with the office of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.