THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) and Department of Justice have been asked to investigate possible criminal liabilities by two officials of the Liberal Party over the alleged improper payment of customs tariffs and duties.
In a letter-complaint, a copy of which was sent to the DoJ, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) asked the BoC to investigate Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice and LP's Eric Gutierrez for possible improper payment of customs duties and taxes for the nickel ore shipments of their firm S.R. Metals Inc. (SRMI) from China.
The BoC was specifically asked to determine if there was undervaluation and misdeclaration of the worth of nickel ores shipped by SRMI to China in its mining operations and exportation since 2006.
The DENR, through undersecretary for climate change service and mining concerns Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, referred to the BoC the complaint filed by Basiana Mining Exploration Corp. (BMEC).
"In view of the above, may we refer the matter to you for possible investigation of the alleged failure of SRMI to properly declare the dutiable value of the extracted ores," read the letter.
BMEC alleged that SRMI allegedly profited over P28 billion in ore sales over the past 10 years without government records of tax payments to either the local government in Agusan del Norte or the national government.
It accused the mining firm of possibly violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
“The small-scale mining operation in just one year beginning 2006 had sold P2.8 billion—and exceeded the yearly 50,000-ton limit many times over. Within a decade, SRMI had realized over P28 billion in revenues from nickel ore shipments to China, as records of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and MGB would show,” alleged the complaint of BMEC's Rodney Basiana filed with the office of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The DENR has referred the same complaint to the Bureau of Internal Revenue for investigation.
The DENR earlier issued a cease and desist order against SRMI after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) found that the mining firm had exceeded the 50,000-ton allowed annual volume for a small-scale miner.