LTO foreign contractor accused by local partner of estafa

posted September 15, 2021 at 10:26 pm
by  Manila Standard
German firm Dermalog identification Systems gmBh has been accused by its local partner Verzontal Builders, Inc. of violating Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code or estafa.

Verzontal filed the formal complaint at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City against the company and its involved officers.

As a rejoinder, Verzontal, a licensed contractor having been issued a PCAB license with Triple A Classification for General Engineering based on its extensive years of experience in the industry was offered to enter into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Dermalog, Holy Family Planning Corp. and Microgenesis Software, Inc. in 2018 to qualify and participate as an unincorporated joint venture for the public bidding of the DOTR Road Transportation IT Infrastructure Project (LTO Component A) with the LTO.

Verzonal signed the JVA while Dermalog  in March 2018.

As agreed, Verzontal contributed to the net financial contracting capacity of the JVA, to undertake the civil, mechanical and electrical works and even lent its office space and resources for the preparation of bid submissions of the LTO project.

Under the JVA, the complainant has 25 percent ownership interest in the joint venture.

The JVA never indicated the total project price but the complainant, having been convinced by Dermalog that it would be transparent in all its dealing with the LTO placed its full trust and confidence to the JV partner.

As its contribution for the LTO to better its service to its Filipino clientele Verzontal even submitted a "lowered cost estimates" of its undertaking at the request of Dermalog resulting in the submission of cost estimates lower by 10% as against its original submission on March 26, 2018.

Upon finalization of the required bidding documents, Dermalog submitted a financial proposal to the LTO, including the lowered civil, mechanical and electrical works cost estimate of Verzontal of which it was not informed of the "true" bid price in spite being a co-equal partner in the project as indicated in the JVA.

On May 17, 2018, LTO awarded the project to Dermalog JVA for submitting the  most competitive/lowest bid price and again Verzontal was not made aware of the notice of award and not furnished a copy of the same, again a violation of the provision in the JVA that as a partner Verzontal would be furnished copy/ies of every communication/s with LTO.

Nonetheless, in spite of all of the above incidents Verzontal completed its contractual obligation relating to the project. For this, Verzontal is therefore entitled to the full payment of the 25 percent share in the project price for the civil, mechanical and electrical works undertaken by the complainant under the JVA.

"By reason of respondent Dermalog and its co respondents' failure to disclose the "true" project price as accepted and approved by LTO and subsequently remit to the complainant the 25 percent share in the project price pursuant to the JVA after rendering and completing the services related to the civil, mechanical and electrical works which, as related above, had been fraudulently mispriced, the complainant is entitled to the 25% share in the project and compensatory damages," Verzontal said.

According to Verzontal, Dermalog has failed to fully pay Verzontal its 25 percent share despite repeated written demands.

After several attempts to collect from Dermalog what is legally due to them, Verzontal, in a bizarre twist of events, even received a counter demand letter dated April 26, 2021 from the Dermalog counsel claiming that the complainant is supposedly remiss in its obligations.

In response, Verzontal said the allegations are "baseless and preposterous" specifically the assertion that complainant had no contribution to the JV and is merely a "sub-contractor contrary to the records at hand."

 Verzontal is confident that with the filing of the complaint at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office probable cause would be established to warrant the filing of the case at a competent court of law and a legal decision would be decided in its favor.

Topics: Dermalog identification Systems , Verzontal Builders Inc , joint venture agreement , Quezon City Prosecutor Office
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