Senator urges PAGCOR to cancel contract with POGO auditor

The audit firm hired by PAGCOR is under scrutiny.
The audit firm hired by PAGCOR is under scrutiny.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for immediate termination of the contract.

The Philippines.- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called for the immediate termination of the contract between the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and POGO auditor Global ComRCI. His call comes after a New York-based bank denied issuing the certificate that helped the firm win a PHP6bn auditing contract with the regulator. 

Global ComRCI was hired by PAGCOR to audit the earnings of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs). Its legitimacy was called into question at a January hearing by the Committee on Ways and Means, which is chaired by Gatchalian. 

Gatchalian called the hearing after previously expressing concerns about Global’s technical capability to audit and determine if POGOs were paying the correct taxes to the government. Representatives from Global did not attend, but PAGCOR presented a bank guarantee that the auditor had submitted to prove it had a PHP1.3bn (US$25m) account with SCB in compliance.

Senator Gatchalian requested SCB verify the authenticity of the certificate submitted, and the bank advised that the address was false since it does not have an office in the Philippines. 

Gatchalian has accused PAGCOR of having limited knowledge of POGO’s operations. He’s called for a ban on POGOs, suggesting that the loss to the economy could be made up by attracting BPO companies to occupy the office space vacated by gaming operators.

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