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    Posted April 14, 2014 by

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    18 Philippine officials indicted for graft

    THE Office of the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered on Monday the dismissal from service and indictment of 18 top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for violation of the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act."
    In a resolution approved on April 7, 2014 but was released a week later, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of charges for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 against the accused officials.
    Documents show that on Feb. 24, 2010, the SBMA entered into Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Harbour Centre for the development, operation and management of the Naval Supply Depot and the ports in Boton, Alava, Rivera and Bravo.
    The Terms of Reference granted it concession as exclusive port operator of the five ports and exclusive cargo handling for foreign and domestic break-bulk and bulk cargoes for the entire zone.
    In exchange, the SBMA stood to receive a fixed and guaranteed share of USD 32 million for the 25-year agreement, as well as a variable revenue share.
    The case arose from the separate complaints filed by port operators Amerasia International Terminal Services Inc. (AITSI) and Subic Seaport Terminal Inc. (SSTI) which contested the award to Harbour Centre.
    The 32-page joint resolution said the SBMA officials "displayed manifest partiality and evident bad faith in the performance of their functions."
    It cited the guidelines issued by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) that a JVA shall only be executed after the conduct of the competitive challenge (bidding) where a private sector participant has been declared winner and issued a Notice of Award.
    The assailed JVA was executed on Feb. 24, 2010 while the competitive challenge commenced on March 5, 2010 with the publication of the Invitation to Submit Comparative Proposals.
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