In the Philippines, an anti-graft and corruption watchdog has lodged a formal complaint against Cristino Naguiat, the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation, and ten others relating to the controversial lease of a lot near Manila’s former Army Navy Club to a casino developer.
According to a report from ABS-CBN News, the Volunteers Against Crime And Corruption have filed charges with the Philippines Department Of Justice against Naguiat for alleged violations of Section 3(e) of the Republic Act 3019, which is also known as the Anti-Graft Law.
Joining Naguiat as a defendant in the action concerning the $66.58 million lease deal is former Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation director Jose Tanjuatco as well as attorneys Kathleen Delantar, Jorge Sarmiento and Manuel Sy.
The action from Volunteers Against Crime And Corruption members Dante Jimenez and Arsenio Evangelista, which also charges current Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation directors Enriguito Nuguid and Eugene Manalastas as well as members of its Bids And Awards Committee in Milagros Pauline Visque, Ramon Jones, Romeo Cruz and Annalyn Zogimann, alleges that the award of the lease to Vanderwood Management Corporation was “highly irregular and anomalous”.
Citing a report from the Office Of The Supervising Auditor, the action alleges that the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation released $4.85 million to Vanderwood Management Corporation “despite the fact that the premises to be leased were not existing at the time of the execution of the contract”.
“Considering that there were no leased premises to speak of, the disbursement of [$4.85 million] was irregular and, therefore, disallowable in audit pursuant to [Commission On Audit] Circular No 2012-003 dated October 29, 2012,” read the complaint.
The Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation awarded Vanderwood Management Corporation with a 15-year lease for the lot behind the historic Army Navy Club in August of 2015 following a 14-month bidding process and had hoped to open a casino in the space by the end of this year. However, the complaint alleges that the land falls “within the portion of the Museo Ng Maynila Complex”, which is owned by the city of Manila and had already been leased to Oceanville Hotel And Spa Corporation who, in turn, had sub-leased the property to Vanderwood Management Corporation.