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Biz Buzz: Repeat offender?

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Biz Buzz: Repeat offender?

/ 05:14 AM July 28, 2017

The latest word from inside this Metropolitan Manila-based bank— which is trying to win back the trust of a particular company it has dealt with for years—is nothing short of unsettling.

Several sources have told Biz Buzz that one particular rogue bank officer could have been prevented from causing financial and reputational harm to the banking giant had a previous disciplinary case against her been acted on more firmly.

What are we talking about? Well, let’s just say that, according to our banking sources, a problem had already surfaced regarding the conduct of Ms Rogue Officer as early as 2009.

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You read it correctly: As early as eight years ago, Ms Rogue Officer was busted for allegedly falsifying documents as part of her work in the bank.

But instead of receiving firm disciplinary action—or even fired, as other banks would have done—Ms Rogue merely got a proverbial slap on the wrist, and the whole issue was “swept under the rug,” according to one source.

Why? “She had a protector,” said another source with a snicker, suggesting something that is somewhat difficult to publish. “She was untouchable, because…”

Fast forward three years from this incident, and Ms Rogue Officer was transferred from a unit where she was directly involved in dealing with clients and soliciting business from them, to another department where she became directly involved in the operations and handling of the funds moving between the bank and these clients.

“And that’s when and where the fraud seems to have begun,” the source said.

Now, apart from the lingering mystery as to whether Ms Rogue Officer was acting alone or in league with cohorts, there’s also the nagging question about whether she used more than one avenue to defraud her employer than what she was busted for.

And then there’s the other question: How is Ms Rogue Officer and her… uhm… “protector” doing nowadays? Will he come to her rescue again? Or are all bets off this time? —DAXIM L. LUCAS

Lucky numbers

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We already know that Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. priced its initial public offering (IPO) of 546,593,000 new common shares at P10.68 per share.

If that price doesn’t look curious to you, you’ll need a little knowledge of Chinese business tradition—specifically, traditions over what is considered lucky or unlucky. In this case, P10.68 can look a lot like “168” by just taking out the zero. And one-six-eight in Fookien sounds close to the words that translate to “one road to prosperity.”

“In pricing our initial public offer of shares, we decided to leave more than enough room for upside in the equities market,” CLC founder and chair Dennis Uy said. “Our decision also took into account our desire to ensure great value for our prospective investors. Aside from the numbers 168 being lucky, our strong fundamentals and exciting growth prospects should give our investors a lot of upswing.”

More interestingly, however, the offer shares will allow the investing public to own 30 percent of the 1,821,977,615 outstanding common shares of Chelsea Logistics after the IPO —the firm that will hold the bulk of the Davao businessman’s new interests apart from this flagship firm, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc.

“We always tell investors that Chelsea presents them the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the shipping and logistics industry and the economy as a whole,” Uy said.

The offer period is scheduled for July 24-31 in time for the listing and commencement of the trading of the company’s shares on the main board of the Philippine Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CLC” on Aug. 8 (another auspicious date there: the eighth day of the eighth month of the year.)

The company earmarked proceeds from the IPO for fleet expansion; purchase or upgrade of ports, port facilities, containers, and machineries and equipment; acquisition of other shipping and logistics firms; and general corporate purposes.

Chelsea Logistics is working toward becoming the prime mover of vital goods, cargoes and passengers in the Philippines and eventually a regional player by expanding organically and creating synergies with 2GO Group Inc. and affiliates within the Udenna Group.

Udenna started the shipping business in 2006 through Chelsea Shipping Corp. to support the operations of Phoenix Petroleum.

The business has since grown into the country’s largest shipping group. It has the largest tanker fleet in terms of capacity with a total 39,271.64 gross registered tonnage.

In March, Chelsea Logistics acquired a significant interest in 2GO Group and subsequently took over its management. The SM Group would later purchase an equally substantial stake in the publicly listed integrated transport solutions provider. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

Disaster ready

With the growing frequency of earthquakes and other natural calamities, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) is now an indispensable part of the Filipino way of life. Local government units (LGUs) are leading the way in preparing their respective communities, while schools have included disaster-preparedness in their list of required subjects.

Among the country’s LGUs, Makati City is one of the most aggressive in terms of DRRM initiatives.

According to a Biz Buzz source, Makati City Hall—under Mayor Abby Binay— is investing quite a sum for equipment and disaster awareness programs. And for good reason. It turns out that while Makati only has an estimated 600,000 residents, the city’s population balloons to more than 4.5 million if you add the workers, businessmen, clients, students and tourists who visit the city on a daily basis.

To maintain the city’s current stature as a DRRM model, the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office recently acquired state-of-the-art equipment like life-support ambulances, water purification systems, water vessels and fire-proof blankets. It also purchased urban search and rescue equipment like the heavy duty rescue set (the so-called “Jaws of Life,” a hydraulic apparatus used to pry apart wreckage in order to free people trapped inside).

Also procured were thermal imaging cameras, “life locators” and generator sets. These are in addition to the city’s current fleet of fire trucks and response vehicles, modular dome tents, unified radio communications equipment and text messaging alert systems.

In fact, at the height of the Resorts World Manila incident, Biz Buzz learned that the thermal imaging camera used by the Bureau of Fire Protection for its search and rescue operations was actually borrowed from Makati. Not bad. Not a bad investment at all. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), falsifying documents, Ms Rogue Officer
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