NBI report on MRT 3 extort case not yet released
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 26, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has not released the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) report on the $30-million extortion attempt in connection with the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) expansion project.

The DOJ submitted to the Palace last month the findings and recommendations of the NBI on the allegations of former Czech ambassador Josef Rychtar and Czech railway firm Inekon Group against resigned MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III.

But the Palace has not yet given its go-signal on reported criminal actions against Vitangcol, DOJ sources said.

Citing a DOJ source, The STAR reported last February that the NBI found “no sufficient evidence” against Vitangcol.

“No one corroborated the statement that Vitangcol ordered through a phone call to ask for money,” the source said.

The telephone call the source referred to was the one Wilson de Vera allegedly made while he and the Inekon officials were at Rychtar’s residence in Forbes Park, Makati on July 9, 2012.

According to the source, none of the Inekon officials corroborated the claims made by Inekon board chairman Josef Husek in his affidavit to the NBI in October last year.

None of them were also able to prove that De Vera indeed received orders from Vitangcol over the phone that night.

The source said Vitangcol was cleared as far as the NBI is concerned, unless a new witness or new evidence is found.

The STAR reported last year that Rychtar had accused Department of Transportation and Communications officials of asking Inekon executives for $30 million if they wanted to get the contract to supply 48 new trains for the MRT expansion project.

The $30 million, it was alleged, was later reduced to $2.5 million.

Rychtar had implicated Vitangcol in the controversy.

The firm was reportedly “blacklisted” from the bidding after it refused to pay the government officials $30 million, a claim denied by Palace officials.

Meanwhile, De Vera, who was also implicated in a separate alleged anomalous maintenance contract in the MRT, denied yesterday any involvement in the controversial deal.

De Vera, a defeated mayoralty candidate in Calasiao, Pangasinan under the Liberal Party in the 2013 elections, told The STAR that he is just a minority shareholder of JV Corp. PH Trams/ CB&T that won the interim maintenance contract of the MRT.

De Vera and Vitangcol are among those charged with violations of Section 3 (b) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and Section 7(d) of Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) that were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. – With Eva Visperas

AL VITANGCOL ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT BUT THE PALACE CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS DE VERA DE VERA AND VITANGCOL INEKON REPUBLIC ACT NO RYCHTAR VITANGCOL
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