Korean trader cries foul

HIDDEN AGENDA (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2014 - 12:00am

While our government desperately designs schemes to attract foreign investors and spur business activity, some groups are doing the exact opposite by engaging in activities that are scaring away foreign entrepreneurs.

One such group preys on Korean businessmen and operates inside the Bureau of Immigration (BI) where some age-old practices have gone unchecked to this day.

These old hands at the BI are allegedly in cahoots with a group of enterprising lawyers.

This abhorrent activity has been, in fact, denounced by the members of the Korean Association of the Philippines (KAP) after one of their members came forward to expose this scheme.

It has come to the attention of Immigration commissioner Siegfred Mison that Kang Tae Sik, a Korean businessman based in Makati who runs a liquor business in the country for the last 27 years, has been the subject of these nefarious activities.

In his affidavit, Kang informed Mison that the law firm, headed by one Alex Tan, has been his consultant and business adviser for his export-import company, a Korean food and beverage, based in Makati City, for the past 10 years.

As legal counsel of his company, Kang claimed that the law firm reportedly obtained several documents and sensitive materials during their engagement to eliminate the Korean in his line of business.

The  law firm is also reportedly circulating a court order among the Korean community in the country intended to ridicule and malign Kang, accusing him of being a “convicted businessman”.

He said that when Tan withdrew as his lawyer, the latter  put up a similar export-import business of Korean goods that directly competes with Kang’s business.

Tan is one of the incorporators in the beverage company, L and K Beverage  International Trading Inc. Prior to the filing of deportation charges against Kang, the Bureau of Customs seized incoming goods of Tan for undervaluation.

Kang said that because of the seizure, Tan suspected him as the one who tipped off the BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue, prompting Tan’s  group to retaliate.


Questionable bidding

Controversy continues to hound the bidding for the information technology project of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) which could address the issues of stolen and smuggled vehicles, as well as double registration.

The project involves the road transportation IT infrastructure project worth P3.4 billion.

One of the disqualified bidders for the project, the joint venture of Heitech Padu Berhad and OMI, has voiced out its concern over alleged irregularities or bias in the decision of Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to allow a non-eligible group to bid for the IT system.

The DOTC has granted the motion for reconsideration of the joint venture of Avesco Marketing Corp. and Sung Gwang Co. and was declared eligible to continue with the bidding.

According to lawyer Vince Saavedra, counsel of OMI-Heitech, they have discovered that the joint venture  was allowed to proceed with their proof of concept despite their failure to submit several important bidding documents, such as the board resolution of authorized signatory of the bid documents and the omnibus sworn statement of the joint venture.

It was also alleged that Avesco-Sung Gwang joint venture has also failed to submit the curriculum vitae of its professional staff, and has instead submitted that of their subcontractors.

Just last week, the Avesco-Sung Gwang presented its proof of concept for the project, along with the other two qualified bidders.

However, Saavedra questioned the move of the DOTC because they believed that there are only two bidders who were at least able to submit the required bidding documents – the joint ventures of Omniprime Marketing-Heitech Padu Berhad and Oberthur Technologies-Comfac Corp.

He said there  is no reason for Omniprime-Heitech to be disqualified because they were able to submit  all the required documents. Despite the submission, the group’s motion for reconsideration has been rejected.

Heitech  Padu Berhad, said to be the biggest IT company in Malaysia, is the one providing services for the vehicle registration and driver’s license issuance for the past 15 years in Malaysia.

Oberthur-Comfac, on the other hand, was disqualified when the DOTC’s Bids and Awards Committee decided not to open their bidding documents because they failed to pack their copy one to five of their document requirements  in one box.

Saavedra emphasized that if DOTC has to be strict in the bidding process, all of the other bidders, including Avesco-Sung Gwang, should not be reconsidered because under the non-discretionary PASS/FAIL criterion, the absence of two very important documents of AVESCO is enough to disqualify them.

Saavedra had earlier questioned the decision of the DOTC, when it declared the joint venture of KAISA having two foreign partners which is against the bidding rules.

The DOTC plans to have a full implementation of the LTO- IT project by the third quarter of next year.

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