DOJ OKs filing estafa cases against 5 SMHC partners in Skyway 3 project
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the filing of syndicated estafa charges against 3 Indonesian businessmen and 2 Filipinos, for allegedly duping San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC) of P32.6 million.
In a 21-page resolution approved by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon and made public on Monday, September 17, the DOJ found probable cause to indict Indonesians Shadik Wahono, Dodik Marseno Catur Utomo, and Sahra Mayor, along with two Filipinos – Alvin Bugtas and Joel Rayos – before the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong.
The DOJ recommended no bail for the 5, who are accused of syndicated estafa.
The case is based of a complaint made by Citra Central Expressway Corporation (CCEC) and SMHC in connection with Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway project.
Conflicts of interest
CCEC was incorporated in November 16, 2012 and its incorporators and directors include Utomo, Mayor, and Bugtas.
The incorporation was established based on the agreement between Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) and PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada (CLGP) to work on the Skyway Stage 3 Project.
On June 9, 2014, Utomo, who was chairman of CCEC's Board of Directors, called for the corporation to enter into a project with a consortium made up of Renardet S.A., Design Science Incorporated, and Destra Management and Consultancy Services Inc. (DESTRA) for the Skyway 3 Project.
Utomo, Mayor, and Bugtas voted in favor of the contract with the consortium.
Complainants claimed, however, that at the time of the board meeting and the signing of the agreement with the consortium, they did not know Utomo, Mayor, and Bugtas were also incorporators of DESTRA. This meant they would have had a personal stake in the agreement being formed.
When this was discovered, CCEC's board did not renew the agreeement with the consortium but made a new contract for project management and construction services with Renardet S.A. and Design Science Inc.
Wahono, the owner of CLGP, objected to the CCEC decision in a letter sent to the CCEC board. An investigation later found Wahono also had a personal interest in DESTRA.
The complainants pointed out these undisclosed conflicts of interest in their accusations of estafa by false representation.
The respondents were legally obliged to disclose their personal interest in DESTRA to CCEC shareholders, under section 32 of the Corporation Code, but instead were alleged to have kept quiet and otherwise hidden the interest in DESTRA during the CCEC's Annual Shareholders' Meeting.
The complainants said, as a result of the fraudulent acts done by the respondents, they suffered damages. CCEC paid the consortium P172.33 million, of which P32.665 million was paid to DESTRA.
The DOJ said, "This malicious and deliberate concealment of the respondents’ personal interest in DESTRA and in the agreement, and the fact that they proposed, authorized and voted in faor of the latter were part of a scheme to defraud CCEC."
The DOJ added the scheme was "a fraudulent representation to the damage of CCEC's shareholders" due to how DESTRA was disqualified to be a party in the contract as a result of the conflicting interests. – Rappler.com
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