BOC accreditation arm loses authority after extortion reports
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs' (BOC) Account Management office (AMO) – its accreditation office – lost its authority to suspend or otherwise cancel the registration of importers and brokers following findings that showed two of the office's personnel were engaged in extortion activities.
In a memorandum dated August 25, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon mentioned reports of AMO personnel seeking to "harass, intimidate and extort importers and brokers." The personnel threatened to suspend and cancel importers' and brokers' accreditation with the customs bureau.
Faeldon directed the bureau's Management Information and Systems Technology Group to revoke the access of all AMO personnel in the bureau's computer system. He also ordered that "only the Commissioner of Customs, or his authorized representatives, can order the suspension and/or cancellation of the registration in accordance with existing regulations,”
Faeldon will assume this function pending completion of a probe on the allegations of extortion and harassment of AMO personnel against importers and brokers.
With the new order in place, Faeldon also issued a separate memorandum the following day that would lift the suspension of PRO-V Marketing Unlimited Co.
Malicious retaliation by denied importer?
The AMO, led by lawyer Jemima Sy-Flores, suspended PRO-V Marketing's registration in the BOC's Client Profile Registration System (CPRS) as the company's office in Quezon City was found vacant in an August 18 inspection.
Under BOC rules and regulations, importers cannot get accreditation by supplying fictitious business addresses or other so-called “non-existent offices.”
In a reply to Faeldon, Flores explained, "This fact gave the AMO reasonable basis to conclude that PRO-V Marketing is a ‘fly-by-night’ importer, hence, the denial of its accreditation is warranted.”
Flores added the harassment and extortion complaint against AMO personnel was a “malicious retaliation to the denial of accreditation/suspension of the CPRS of PRO-V Marketing.”
The AMO received a copy of the complaint, filed by Erman Remulla Maderazo before the Investigation Division.on August 30. Maderazo claimed to be the firm’s import manager.
Maderazo alleged two AMO personnel asked for bribe money in an earlier instance – back in 2014 while he was the import manager of EON Global Marketing at the time. EON Global Marketing also transacts with the BOC. – Rappler.com
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