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NBI OKs filing of anti-dummy charges vs Megawide’s Saavedra, Indian partner for Mactan airport project

Bilyonaryo Edgar Saavedra is facing charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly violating foreign equity restrictions when his company, Megawide, partnered with the New Delhi-based GMR Infrastructure Limited for the operation of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

By Nancy Carvajal

Based on documents obtained by BILYONARYO, the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Fraud Division (NBI-AFRAD) recently recommended the prosecution of Saavedra and 13 other Filipino and foreign officials of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) for the alleged violation of Commonwealth Act No. 108, otherwise known as the Anti-Dummy Law.

The NBI found evidence against Saavedra and his business partners for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law penalizes persons and corporations which circumvent the foreign equity restrictions stated in the Constitution.

Results of the NBI’s investigation showed the grant of a 25-year franchise to GMCAC for the operation of MCIA was unconstitutional.

The Anti-Dummy Law states that no franchise, certificate or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporation or association organized under the laws of the Philippines.

The NBI also recommended for prosecution three other Filipino GMR-Megawide officials: lawyer Steve Dicdican, MCIA Authority General Manager Manuel Louie Ferrer, and executives Oliver Tan and Jez Dela Cruz.

Also named as respondents were foreign ranking GMCAC officials, namely: Srinivas Bommidala, GMCAC’s chairman; P. Sripathy, GMCAC Director; Vivek Singhai; Andrew Acquaah-Harrison; Ravi Bratnagar; Ravishankar Saravu; Surdashan MD; Kumar Gauray; Magesh Nambiar; Rajesh Nambiar; and COO Michael Lenane.

Megawide won the Mactan airport contract in 2013 and has a pending proposal to expand the airport.

The NBI also recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman the prosecution of MCIAA General Manager and CEO Steve Dicdican for alleged violation of Section 4(g) of Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, in connection with the anti-graft law.

It also won the bidding for the expansion of the Clark airport in 2017 and has been granted original proponent status for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by the Department of Transportation despite questions on its lack of financial capability to undertake massive airport projects simultaneously.

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