Overpriced coffee leads to plunder complaint

Pagcor files a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman against ex-Pagcor chair Efraim Genuino and 3 others

MANILA, Philppines – The present management of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) on Tuesday, July 17, filed a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against former Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino and 3 others for  alleged anomalies in the grant multi-million peso coffee concession contracts.

Pagcor directors Jose Tanjuatco and Enriquito Nuguid signed the 25-page complaint accusing the respondents of conspiring with each other in defrauding Pagcor and the government by at least P78 million.

The amount was based on computations made by the agency’s audit team on the overpriced coffee supply deal signed by the old Pagcor management with contractor-supplier Promolabels.

Named along with Genuino were former Pagcor president Rafael Francisco, former senior vice president and senior managing head of Research Development Department Rene Figueroa and Promolabels owner Carlota Cristi Manalo-Tan.

The Ombudsman will have to determine if the complaint has enough evidence to merit its filing with the Sandiganbayan.

The 3 were specifically accused of ensuring that government-run Casino Filipino branches entered into “concession agreements with Promolabels with a view towards enriching themselves and coffee concessionaire Manalo-Tan through the sale and purchase of overpriced Figaro coffee products.”

Price of malls

The complaint noted that according to the proposal of Figaro Coffee Company, which was approved by the Genuino-led Pagcor Board on May 16, 2001, the cost of coffee “will be similar to the prices in the malls.”

Promolabels allegedly ended up with 7 separate concessionaire contracts to supply coffee for Pagcor’s casinos without benefit of a public bidding.

This even if subsequent inquiries revealed that Promolabels was not duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“For the years 2005 to 2008 alone, Pagcor could have saved at least P78 million if only the prices of Promolabels’ Figaro coffee products were the same as those of other Figaro franchisees,” the complaint noted.

It added that respondent Pagcor officials failed to take any action on the Audit Observation Memoranda issued by the Commission on Audit calling their attention to the losses incurred by the gaming agency due to the overpriced coffee sales. – Rappler.com