Pressure is mounting on PAGCOR for using unregistered tax auditors
Pressure is mounting on PAGCOR for using unregistered tax auditors, as a result of awarding a multi-million dollar contract to a company that was not allowed to carry out the work, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has come under fire and criticism.
Global ComRCI received a consulting contract from PAGCOR in 2017 for PHP 26 billion ($477 million) to monitor the earnings of authorized Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and make sure they were paying the correct amount of tax. However, it has since come to light that Global ComRCI is not registered in the Philippines and that the documentation it provided for its application was inaccurate.
There were appeals for an investigation into the approval process used by PAGCOR during a hearing on the benefits and drawbacks of the POGO industry, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian raised the issue about how PAGCOR granted the deal to Global ComRCI.
As a result of significant discrepancies in industry gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers between PAGCOR, the Bureau of Internal Revenues, and the POGOs themselves, it has been shown in previous hearings that PHP 9.1 billion ($166 million) in POGO taxes have been lost.
It was also disclosed that Global ComRCI worked with Soleil Chartered Bank (SBC), a bank that is also operating without a license in the Philippines, to demonstrate that it complied with PAGCOR’s capital criteria.
Due diligence must be carried out properly when assigning contracts of this sort, and this revelation has led to requests for both a probe of PAGCOR’s selection procedure and the implementation of stronger standards. The event has also sparked concerns about the larger POGO industry’s capacity for self-regulation and tax law compliance.
Senator Questions PAGCOR’s Performance
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed doubts about PAGCOR’s ability to effectively enforce rules and laws pertaining to POGOs. He specifically referred to two businesses that have been linked to kidnappings but are still in business.
Sherwin Gatchalian claimed that tolerance and a conflict of interest may be factors, casting doubt on PAGCOR’s capacity to deal with offenses quickly and effectively. He has demanded the outlawing of POGOs, contending that they carry more dangers than advantages. However, according to Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., president of the Philippines, it is unauthorized operators who are breaking local laws.
This senator has previously targeted PAGCOR. The senator demanded a reorganization of PAGCOR in November. He said that the way things are done right now creates a conflict of interest because PAGCOR oversees and controls gaming in the nation.
At the moment, PAGCOR is the country’s gambling regulator as well as the owner and operator of nine casinos and 32 satellite casinos in the Philippines.
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Jan 31, 2023