Philippines gaming regulator is still chasing the company previously employed as a third part auditor of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry for the return of Php1 billion (US$17.6 million) it was paid before having its contract terminated earlier this year.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the contract of Global ComRCI – which was hired as auditor in 2017 to track the revenues of licensed POGOs – was terminated in March amid allegations the company produced fraudulent documentation to win the PAGCOR contract. The documentation included an allegedly fake bank certification from the New York branch of Soleil Chartered Bank (SBC) showing the auditor met PAGCOR’s capital requirements.
Presenting to a House appropriations panel on Monday, PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco said the regulator was still pursuing Global ComRCI to return the Php1 billion it had been paid for its services.
“We are coordinating with the Office of the Solicitor General to go after this private company,” Tengco said, as reported by GMA News. “The Php1 billion collected from PAGCOR must be returned because from Day 1, their contract is null and void.”
The PAGCOR supremo also revealed that the Commission on Audit (COA) was currently conducting POGO audits on a temporary basis while the search for a new third-party auditor continues.
“Under our laws, POGO licensees cannot operate without an independent auditor,” Tengco said. “We wrote a letter to the Department of Justice to ask if we can tap COA as auditor for our overseas gaming licensees, and the DOJ said such is allowed.
“Now, it is COA handling the auditing for overseas gaming licensees, and this decision has enabled the government to save at least Php5.8 billion (US$102 million).”
It is being reported that COA has established a special team dedicated to gaming auditing, however its role is limited to ensuring accounting integrity rather than fair game audits or other company operations.