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Graft raps filed vs ex-mayor Lim over Manila parking meter project.

A complaint for graft has been filed against former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and two officials from private corporations for allegedly entering into an anomalous contract that caused the city government to lose about P3.46 billion.

In his eight-page complaint affidavit filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, former mediaman Ricardo Santos Cruz through counsel, Atty. Moses Pua alleged that Lim, Tokagawa Global Corporation vice president Rorie Cariaga, and Matsuyama Corporation managing officer Napoleon Ibalio violated the law when it entered into a 25-year contract for installation of parking meters and management devices in the city that is extremely unfavorable to the government.

Citing an Oct. 13 audit from the City Auditor's Office of the City of Manila, Cruz, in his complaint said the Tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (TMOA) that Lim entered into with the two corporations on September 17, 2012 was grossly disadvantageous to the City of Manila.

As an active citizen of the Philippines and a resident of Manila, the complainant cannot sit idly and ignore the blatant disregard and corruption of our laws, Cruz said.

Cruz specifically alleged that Lim and the other respondents violated Paragraphs (e) and (g) of the Anti-Graft Law which provides that government officials and employees are prohibited from giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official administrative or judicial functions.

The said law also prevents any public officers from entering into a contract, on behalf of the government, that is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the latter.

Under the agreement, Matsuyama will provide parking meters and management devices to the City of Manila, which will be installed, operated and maintained by Tokagawa.

On the other hand, under the same agreement, the City of Manila is entitled to 20 percent of the net proceeds while 80 percent shall inure to both Tokagawa and Matsuyama as the contractors, with the TMOA's effectivity lasting for 25 years.

Complainant said respondents failed to follow the procedure under the Procurement law and have failed to produce the necessary documents to support such action.

His manifest partiality in awarding the contract for parking meters to respondent contractors is reflected by the fact that the project was entered into through an 'unsolicited proposal'. The City Auditor also noted that such project of a parking meter system does not fall under any of the eligible types of projects under Section 2.2 of R.A. 6957, as amended by R.A. 7718, Cruz claimed.

He pointed out that the city auditor said that the agreement and the project itself is damaging to the city due to the disparity in the amount of investment by the respondent contractors as compared to the return of investment.

Cruz said the respondent contractors only invested the amount of P11,587,923.20 to start the project and even failed to provide the city government any scope of work covering the project.

He said, for a measly investment of P11.58 million, the respondent contractors have already earned a total of P216,368,258.93 for operating only for two years since 2013.

With the average earning per year at some P138,697,601 for two years' operation, Cruz said the deal could amount to about P3.46 billion for the entire 25-year contract.

Upon the expiry of the agreement, the two contractors would have earned a total of P2.77 billion while the city government would likely get only a measly P693.48 million.

The City of Manila could have profited more from this project, had it not been for respondent Lim's machinations, the complaint read.

Henceforth, it is clear that respondent Lim was manifestly partial to the respondent contractors in awarding the project for parking meter system to them and that the TMOA which respondent Lim entered into was grossly disadvantageous to the government, it added.

Cruz said he is still gathering evidence to elevate the instant case to plunder.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 7, 2015
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