Aircraft firm claims extortion try by DOF official
MANILA, Philippines—An aircraft firm asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman to look into an extortion racket targeting the government contract for the supply of military helicopters to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In a statement Sunday, Rice Aircraft Services, Inc., through its vice president and Philippine country manager Phil Kemp, said an official from the Department of Finance (DOF) who initially assisted them in transacting with the government has been demanding a cut in the P1.21-billion contract for the purchase of 21 German made UH-1D helicopters.
However, he said during the implementation of the contract, they were being asked for a 15-percent payment as a “commission.”
The firm, however, declined to identify the official since they have been calling for an investigation.
After meeting with military and other government officials, Kemp said the authority of the representative from the DOF has been revoked.
Since then, he said they received several electronic messages threatening to sabotage the project, including cancellation of the performance bond they have submitted to the AFP.
He added that the official has been claiming that the parts of the aircraft were obsolete.
“The helicopters are conceivably the most highly modified and advanced version of the UH-1 that has ever existed. These are also configured with crash-worthy self-sealing main fuel cells. Aside from that, the helicopters are fully NVG (Night Vision Goggles) compatible and configured. Eight helicopters were further modified to the Super Delta configuration, which installed the upgraded T-53-L-703 engine providing greater power reserves and expansion of the operational envelope.” Kemp added.
He added that each aircraft underwent comprehensive ground testing at the Joint Venture facility in California, USA.
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