The Philippines’ Department of Justice (DOJ) has given the green light to the nation’s Commission of Audit (COA) to review the gross gaming receipts of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), as the nation’s regulatory body is still looking to find an independent third-party auditor.
According to reports, the DOJ noted that the COA has the authority to do so when the regulator PAGCOR is in the process of securing an auditor. PAGCOR was required to seek a new auditor after it ended its deal with Global ComRCI for being “in default of its obligations”. The regulator has been seeking a new auditor since March.
The DOJ is now stepping in, with reports citing a top official noted that “there appears to be legal basis and sound fiscal reasons for COA to audit the GGR of the POGO […] without this audit, POGOS would be able to defraud the government […] of its rightful share in the GGR, by declaring a lower amount”.
However, the DOJ itself notes that it will not have “any reviewing authority”, with COA being the only relevant body that can do so.
PAGCOR terminated its PHP6 billion contract with Global ComRCI and noted that it would possibly be pursuing legal action to recover some PHP800 million from the amount released to the company before the new administration.
The firm was found to have provided false claims about its links to the Soleil Chartered Bank and otherwise “committed unlawful acts”.