DOJ to look into Tiger Resort’s claim prosecutor biased for Okada
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will conduct a probe on the city prosecutor of Parañaque handling an estafa case against Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada.
This came after Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila, accused Parañaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac of bias and gross partiality and asked him to inhibit from the case after a resolution yet to be released officially by his office was posted last May 18 in the Instagram and Facebook accounts of Chloe Kim, a known close companion of Okada.
“I will look into this matter ASAP. Premature disclosure of orders and resolutions prior to official release is not allowed unless there are compelling reasons that would sufficiently justify the same,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
In its motion for inhibition filed against Paudac, Tiger Resort said it verified the status of the cases in Paudac’s office and was informed on May 21 that no resolution disposing the cases was available for release.
However, the company said it was shocked to learn that as early as May 18, Kim had already posted on her social media accounts a picture of the dispositive portions of the resolutions bearing Paudac’s signature.
“As city prosecutor, (he) is expected to manifest such degree of impartiality, which should not be tainted by scintilla of doubt,” TRLEI said.
In her social media accounts, Kim posted photos of the dispositive and signature portions of the purported resolutions dismissing two estafa cases against Okada and other former officers of TRLEI.
The resolutions were not yet accessible to counsels of the Okada family as of May 21. Kim had captioned her photos, “Devils will go the hell soon! 2 estafa cases against Kazuo Okada of Okada Manila dismissed. Justice prevails.”
The complainant said it is highly irregular how Kim, who is not even a party to the cases, could have access to the resolutions as early as May 18.
“In view of the foregoing circumstances, it is clear that copies of the supposed resolutions in the first and second estafa cases have been leaked to respondent Kazuo Okada and/or his close companions, even before the resolutions could be officially released,” the TRLEI said.
The company also blamed Paudac for the leak since he has the authority to approve resolutions disposing the cases and has administrative supervision and control over the issuance and release of the resolution.
“Resolutions purportedly disposing the captioned cases in favor of respondent Okada have apparently been leaked, as shown by the unlawful publication thereof in the Facebook and Instagram accounts of his close companion, Chloe Kim although said resolutions have not been officially released,” it added.
Being the approving authority, the TRLEI said Paudac was the last signatory to the resolution.
“Thus, logic dictates that the resolutions disposing the captioned cases could not have been leaked to respondent Kazuo and/or his close companion without the participation and/or fault of City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac,” Tiger Resort said. “As a result, there is a real and unmistakable basis for complainant TRLEI to believe that City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac is biased and partial in favor of respondent Kazuo Okada.”
TRLEI is the complainant in the estafa cases pending before the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office where it accused Okada of embezzling more than $10 million of the company’s funds between early 2016 and June 2017.
It is the owner and operator of the posh Okada Manila in Entertainment City, Parañaque, where Okada was its former chief executive officer before he was kicked out by the majority of shareholders.
Tiger Resort filed separate complaints for two counts of estafa against Okada before the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office and another charge of perjury before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.
It accused Okada of illegal disbursement of company funds amounting to more than $3 million supposedly for his consultancy fees and salaries during his one-month tenure as CEO.
Okada had faced criminal charges for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law before the DOJ, filed by the National Bureau of Investigation during the previous administration. However, the case was not resolved and reportedly remanded to the NBI for reinvestigation.
Aside from the cases filed in the Philippines, Okada is also facing a string of cases in South Korea, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan. (PNA)