Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, former Customs Commissioner Guillermo Parayno Jr. and former Customs Deputy Commissioner Primo Aguas were charged with plunder and graft in connection with the cancellation of the P650-million integrated customs processing system.
In a 30-page complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, Annabelle Margaroli, a representative of Omniprime Marketing – Intrasoft Joint Venture (OMI-Intrasoft JV), one of the bidders, said Aguas delayed the awarding of the contract by imposing an interview with OMI-Intrasoft JV even if the company had won the deal.
The joint venture won in the public bidding on April 13. The deal was eventually finalized for approval but Lina—who replaced John Sevilla as head of the bureau on April 24—canceled the project.
“The cancellation by Respondent Lina was a grave instance of a criminal conflict of interest, manifest illegal partiality and malevolent bad faith because it benefited E-Konek Pilipinas, Respondent Parayno and ultimately, Respondent Lina himself and his family as he has a 96.48 percent stake in the company headed by Parayno – which also (submitted a) bid but was disqualified for the NSW [National Single Window] 2 project bid,” Margaroli said.
Parayno is president of E-Konek, one of the companies that participated in the bidding for the Customs project.
The complaint said Lina directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to cancel the contract on the ground that he had to review all the projects awaiting completion that were entered into by the bureau before he assumed office.
“[U]ltimately, the cancellation is prejudicial to the Filipino people, because it deprives them of a customs service that is highly-efficient and graft-free,” Margaroli said.
“Respondents Lina and Aguas conspired in a series of overt criminal acts to delay and to eventually cancel the contract in which OMI-Intrasoft JV had the highest rated bid, so that E-Konek Pilipinas may continue its lucrative but highly-inefficient and corruption-prone business with the BOC valued at between P100 million and P500 million annually,” she added.