Philippines Department of Justice steers clear of Landing land lease investigation

first_img Manila diplomat rejects China’s call to ban online gambling Load More The Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ) has wiped its hands of the investigation into the former board members of Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) over its land lease deal with integrated resort developer Landing International Development Ltd, leaving the matter with the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) instead.President Rodrigo Duterte last week fired the entire NPF board over what he described as a “grossly disadvantageous” deal with Landing for its proposed US$1.5 billion casino and resort in Manila’s Entertainment City. It had previously been suggested that the deal could cost the government Php517 million per year.But DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has told The Philippine Star that the department would not investigate the actions of the former NPF board members even if it is proved that the Landing deal did indeed disadvantage the government, nor would the OGCC’s findings have any impact on the provisional gaming license recently granted to Landing by PAGCOR.“A complaint for graft has been filed before the ombudsman against former board members of the NPF, so that will not be a focus anymore of the DOJ review,” Guevarra said.The DOJ has joint jurisdiction alongside the OGCC over potential graft charges to be laid against the NPF board members, however Guevarra insisted that the OGCC investigation was focused purely on whether or not the land lease deal would impact the government’s bottom line and would have no direct impact on the recent issuance of a provisional gaming license by PAGCOR.“Any license granted by PAGCOR could only be provisional in character as the grant of a regular license depends on the existence of a valid contract of lease between the NPF and the prospective developer or operator,” Guevarra said.The gaming regulator has, however, noted that it would cancel Landing’s provisional gaming license if the land lease deal was found to be invalid. RelatedPostscenter_img Philippines rejects China’s call to ban online gambling China gives Philippines iGaming reprieve but POGOs not safe yetlast_img

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