Pagcor terminates contract with third party POGO auditor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — The gaming regulator on Thursday announced the termination of its ₱6-billion contract with a third party auditor earlier flagged by lawmakers as questionable.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) said it served a notice of decision to terminate its consultancy contract with Global ComRCI, which it tapped in December 2017 to audit licensed Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs. This was done after the investigation.

“Pagcor has determined the third-party auditor to be in default of its obligations and that there exists prima facie evidence that it has committed unlawful acts as defined under R.A. No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act),” it said.

Pagcor reiterated the ₱6-billion contract fee to Global ComRCI remains to be settled.

“No payment has been made by Pagcor in the past four years due to the shortfall from the minimum revenue stipulated in the contract,” it said.

In January, Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel filed a resolution urging the Blue Ribbon Committee to probe the contract between Pagcor and Global ComRCI.

Pimentel said the auditor is “not legally, technically, and financially capable to be a consultant of Pagcor as required under our procurement rules and regulations, and should not have been awarded the contract for being ineligible and disqualified from the start."

In a previous hearing, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian presented photos of Global ComRCI's submitted address. These showed a house and not the office space expected of an agency capable of fulfilling a multibillion-peso contract.

The Senate inquiry also discovered that Global ComRCI's fulfilment of the ₱1-billion operating capital requirement was certified by an entity not registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Pimentel said the investigation will also tackle Pagcor’s claim that it had not made any payments.

Pagcor chief Alejandro Tengco earlier said he placed the procurement contract under review in September 2022, a month after he took office and nearly five years after it was awarded to Global ComRCI.

According to Pagcor, its new management has been conducting “extensive reviews” of contracts.