New raps filed vs Finance execs in tax credit scam
The Ombudsman is set to file a third set of multiple graft charges against a group of officials and employees of the Department of Finance (DOF), many of whom have been previously indicted for tax credit fraud 22 years ago.
Eighteen officials and employees of the DOF’s One-Stop Shop Interagency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (OSS-Center) led by former undersecretary Antonio Belicena, former deputy executive director Uldarico Andutan Jr. and textile division officer-in-charge Asuncion Magdaet face as many as 45 counts of graft each for the most recently unearthed tax credit scam activities.
Ombudsman investigators have found that the DOF officers and employees issued 45 tax credit certificates (TCCs) worth P112.6 million from 1995 to 1998 to a bogus export company named Mannequin International Corp. (MIC).
“The company was for all intents and purposes a paper corporation created solely for the purpose of filing spurious tax credit claims with the government,” the Ombudsman said.
A TCC is a tax refund granted as an incentive to a company which the latter may use to pay taxes, duties, charges and fees due to the government, and may be legally assigned to another company under certain conditions.
Under the latest scam to be discovered, the erring company was found to have submitted fake commercial documents to the OSS-Center, which in turn failed to verify their authenticity, to get the TCCs. The TCCs were then sold or illegally transferred to other business entities which were made to appear as the company’s suppliers of raw materials.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said she ordered the filing of 45 counts of graft against Belicena and Andutan and 43 counts against Magdaet, as well as graft charges against MIC officers and representatives.
The DOF employees who will also be charged with from one to up to six counts of graft are Rowena Maño, Gemma Abara, Annabelle Dino, Emelita Tizon, Purita Napeñas, Charmelle Recoter, Merose Tordesilla, Gregoria Evangelio, Mark Binsol, Cherry Gomez, Sylvialina Daguimol, Manuel Rigor III, Maria Christina Moncada, Paul Senador and Marife Cabadin.
In March 2012, the Ombudsman dismissed 13 DOF officials, including Belicena, Andutan and Magdaet, who were charged in the first set of tax credit scam cases which reportedly defrauded the government of P82 million and P74.84 million from 1994 to 1998.
At the time Belicena had already retired, but even so his retirement benefits were forfeited and he was perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
In July 2012, the Ombudsman again ordered the filing of graft charges against 17 DOF officials, including Belicena, Andutan and Magdaet and several private individuals in the second batch of tax credit scam cases involving 83 TCCs worth P202 million from 1993 to 1998.
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