Solon wants to implement more measures to curb corruption at BoC

A LAWMAKER has called on the House Committee on Ways and Means to ask the Bureau of Customs to formulate more anti-corruption measures and impose stiffer penalties against BOC personnel and officers who shall be involved in defrauding the government of millions in taxes andthrough various unlawful means.

Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) issued the call through House Resolution 2509 as the Office of the Ombudsman is now investigating graft charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against more than 20 BOC officials and employees who allegedly allowed the release of 20 shipping containers without inspecting them which defrauded the government of P1.4 million in duties and taxes.

Castelo said it is time the BOC leadership acts with firm resolve to end the rather systematic corruption in the agency which has persisted for so many years.

“This scheme and scene graphically draws in broad outline the extent of corruption in a public agency supposedly reposed the sensitive duty to collect revenues for the government on account of a rather systematic corruption that has infested every layer of the BOC itself,” he said.

Castelo said the House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City) should direct the BOC to formulate control mechanisms against importers, shipping companies, customs brokers, consignees, warehouse owners, port district collectors, customs officials and employees who shall be involved in defrauding the government of millions in duties and taxes through various illegal means, and impose stiffer penalties against them.

Last June, the NBI accused 21 BOC officials and employees with
violations of Articles 171 (falsification of public documents) and 172 (falsification by private individuals) and Article 183 (false testimony) of the Revised Penal Code and grave misconduct for government employees based on the investigation conducted by Supervising Agent Madrino de Jesus of the National Capital Region.

The NBI also recommended the investigation of two customs brokers, a customs representative, two importers, two warehouse owners, seven private employees and several other John and Jane Does.

De Jesus said the alleged crimes occurred from February 2011 to June 2011 in Manila and Batangas involving 20 units of 20-footer containerized vans that were initially consigned to Zoom Cargo Base Forwarders with address at BF Condo
Bldg., A. Soriano Avenue, Intramuros, Manila.

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