March 2, 2020 – Last month, in his column on the broadsheet The Manila Times, journalist and special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo accused Cagayan Economic Zone and Authority (CEZA) Chief Raul S. Lambino of corruption, including misappropriation of the payments of offshore fintech and crypto firms in the Cagayan Economic Zone. The CEZA chief replied and wrote a point-by-point response to these allegations. This week, media outlet ABS-CBN said Mr. Lambino has submitted himself to a lifestyle check to counter these allegations.
The columnist had written several allegations but this site will focus on the alleged corruption concerning the cryptocurrency-related investments:
- That only $3,000 of the initial charge to every offshore crypto firm is recorded in the receipt out of the $10,000 application fee.
- That 10% of the crypto firm’s capital stock went to CEZA officials before any MoU is signed.
- That the crypto firms give a weekly stipend to the CEZA chief through his assistant.
- That all these are from a report by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)
The entire article can be found here. and contains other allegations aside from the crypto-related investments.
Chief Lambino’s Response:
- That all application and license fees are officially receipted
- That the schedule of fees are published on the CEZA website and can be accessed by the public
- That companies I-wave and Y-fi, and CEZA’s consultants and special assistants guided CEZA in this business venture, increasing its revenues from OVCE (Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange) license to Php 460 million.
- That all principal licensees have undergone strict probity and integrity checks, and have yet to start their operations upon completion of the required facilities in Cagayan
- That these companies are mostly on incubation period so it’s not reasonable for them to even give a Php 5 million weekly stipend
- That no entity will ever pay any fee much less 1-% of authorized capital stock for a non-binding MoU.
- That he was aware of a NICA report “whitepaper” that has been used against him and his family during the recent elections, and that the whitepaper contained the same allegations that Mr. Tulfo wrote about.
The entire rebuttal of Secretary Lambino can be found here and contains responses to other allegations not related to the cryptocurrency investments in the economic zone.
Report from ABS-CBN
According to a new report from media outlet ABS-CBN, CEZA Chief Raul Lambino went to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to personally meet its chairman Dante Jimenez and submitted himself to a voluntary lifestyle check amidst these allegations. In a text message to ABS-CBN, PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna said that Sec. Lambino is willing to undergo a lifestyle check investigation.
Since the rebuttal and the report from ABS-CBN, Mr. Tulfo has not yet returned to the topic.
This article is published on BitPinas: CEZA Chief Responds to Corruption Allegations, Submits to Lifestyle Check