Home » Customs & Trade » Oillink slapped with P700M oil smuggling charge

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) last week charged Oillink International Corp for allegedly defrauding government of P700 million in taxes and duties through an elaborate scheme of underdeclaration and document falsification.

Included in the charge sheet were Oillink chairman Paul Chi Ting Co, president Esther P. Magleo, and importation and finance manager Janice Go Reyes as well as several John Does or Jane Does, among them customs employees.

“We may have just opened the proverbial Pandora’s box here which could help expose some other oil industry players’ deeply-hidden skeletons and provide us with a better understanding as to how the syndicates involved in oil smuggling are able to cheat the government of billions of pesos,” Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez said in a media briefing attended by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

“As far as the new leadership of the BOC is concerned, no crime against government coffers, no matter how long ago it was committed, could go unpunished,” Alvarez said, adding he already instructed Customs deputy commissioner Gregorio Chavez to look into all previous importations of Oillink.

The new company being used by Oillink chairman Co for importing oil is also under scrutiny to see if it was involved in a similar operation.

“I am also instructing deputy commissioner Chavez to file as soon as possible an amended charge sheet that would now include the names of customs employees in cahoots with oil smugglers,” Alvarez said.

Based on documents, Oilllink imported from Korea a total of 221,200 barrels equivalent to 29,400 metric tons of gas oil, popularly known as diesel fuel. The entire shipment arrived on July 21, 2004 at Oillink’s terminal in Mariveles, Bataan and had an equivalent of 35 million liters.

Oillink, however, only acknowledged and paid duties and taxes for no more than 177,200 barrels or 23,500 metric tons, nearly 6,000 metric tons or 44,000 barrels less than the volume indicated in the surveyor report submitted by Intertek Caleb Brett-KIMSCO of Korea.

Oillink’s modus operandi was apparently to break one shipment into five parcels covered by different bills of lading but paying duties and taxes for only four parcels.

Among documents submitted by Oillink were a Certificate of Discharge that showed the MT Highland only discharged 23,500 metric tons of gas oil and a report allegedly issued by Marine Inspection and Testing Services Inc (MITS) indicating the same 23, 500 volume.

Unfortunately for Oillink, MITS, through its general manager Manuel Tan, executed an affidavit that Oillink did not hire his company’s services to conduct a survey on the tanker that brought in the subject oil importation nor did it issue any report or certificate regarding the aforementioned cargo.

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