NBI files complaint vs Gov't execs for onion smuggling - The Most Popular Lists


NBI files complaint vs Gov't execs for onion smuggling

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed a complaint on Monday against six people reportedly involved in onion smuggling in the country.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a press conference on Monday that government employees are among those facing profiteering and stockpiling accusations.

"Kasama and mga opisyal ng gobyerno dito sapagkat ang tingin namin sila ay lumalabas na merong sala sa pagkakataong ito," stated DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
[Translation: Government officials are included since we believe they are at fault in this case.]

DOJ U.S. Geronimo Sy indicated that the complaint came from a private cooperative selling around 8,000 bags of onions to the government-owned and controlled firm Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in December 2022.

According to the NBI, each bag held at least 25 kilos and the price per kilogram topped 500, despite the fact that farmgate prices for onions at the time were barely below 20.

"Ang bentahan sumobra ng 500," Sy explained. "Ang sabi, walang stock pero nung kinontrata ng P500 plus per kilo, nagkaroon ng stock." [Translation: The sale was more than P500. There was a claim that there was no stock, but when a transaction was struck for $500 or more per kg, the stocks materialized.]
Sy also stated that the responders are facing concerns about fraudulent documents submitted during the bidding process.

To avoid prejudicing the prosecutors' investigation, DOJ authorities did not identify the responders.

More cases are on the way.
The NBI lawsuit, according to the Justice chief, is only the first of many to be filed in relation to the hoarding and smuggling of onions, which led to a price rise of up to P700 per kilogram in late 2022.

"This is one of the cases that have been filed and are being developed by the DOJ; other cases will be filed," Remulla added. "Marami pa kaming tinitingnan na violations na considered economic crimes. Ito'y simula pa lang -- hanggang sa maging malinaw sa lahat, hindi pwede ginagawang price manipulations sa merkado."
[Translation: This is only one of the cases that the DOJ is working on. There will be other cases filed. We are still investigating several infractions classified as economic crimes. This is only the beginning -- until everyone understands that price manipulation is not permitted in the market.]

In July, the DOJ director stated that the department was constructing an economic sabotage case against a network of industry actors participating in the alleged onion cartel. Remulla mentioned that they were considering six to seven different personalities.

This came shortly after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the DA's leader, authorized the DOJ and the NBI to investigate onion smuggling and other agricultural items, saying the crime was tantamount to terrorism.

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This article first appeared on CNN.

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