• SEC official charged over North Harbor deal

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    AN official of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged before the Ombudsman for graft and corruption as well as grave misconduct has admitted to deliberately ignoring letters coming from a former majority stakeholder seeking to prevent an increase in authorized capital stock that led to the alleged anomalously sale of shares of the Manila North Harbor Port Inc. (MNHPI).

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    In a 14-page position paper sent to the Office of the Ombudsman, Ferdinand Sales, SEC Company Registration and Monitoring Department (CRMD) director, said he received a letter from complainant Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) regarding the intra-corporate controversy surrounding MNHPI.

    HCPTI, which previously had a majority share of 65 percent, asked the SEC to stop the application for capital increase as it would dilute the former’s shareholding in favor of San Miguel Holdings Corp.

    In January, a Quezon City court barred fugitive 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero from claiming ownership of his family-owned HCPTI, exposing challenges in the ownership of MNHPI, which has been taken over by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

    The younger Romero, who has gone into hiding since an arrest warrant was issued against him three months ago, lost the legal battle to his father, Reghis, who sued his estranged son for allegedly falsifying ownership of the port facility.

    Sales said the letter, which he said he received on December 15, 2015, was sent by HCPTI before the application for increase in authorized capital stock and the amendment of the articles of incorporation of MNHPI.

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