MANILA (UPDATE) - PLDT on Thursday said that it found no evidence of fraud after ‘substantially’ completing its investigation on its capital expenditure overrun.
Last year, the telco giant disclosed that an internal probe revealed an estimated P48-billion budget overrun from 2019 to 2022. The overrun represented 12.7 percent of PLDT’s total capex for the period, it said in its December 16, 2022 disclosure.
In its Thursday disclosure to the stock exchange, PLDT said its forensic review of the elevated capex commitments is “is substantially complete.”
“The review, which was conducted by external counsel with the assistance of accounting and audit consultants, focused on the period 2019-2022 and identified no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment, or bad faith conduct on the part of any employee of the Company and no basis to restate the Company’s historical financial statements,” the telco said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
PLDT Chief Legal Counsel Marilyn Victorio-Aquino said the overrun was due to “the huge multi year projects that we embarked in that period 2019-2022."
After negotiating with its major vendors, the company’s outstanding commitments were reduced to around P33 billion “net of advances paid to these vendors,” PLDT said.
“The Company plans to engage in similar discussions with non-major vendors to achieve similar results,” it said.
PLDT Chairman Manny V Pangilinan said he feels relieved of the findings of the investigation, noting the issue won't affect the overall performance of the company.
"We're relived that is the case and it's now incumbent upon management and the board to get back on the saddle and move on, move forward and demonstrate that despite this big hump on the road, the financial and operating conditions of the company remain strong and robust," said Pangilinan.
He added that there also have been update on the reported class action suit against PLDT in connection with the issue.
"We are aware about the class action suit I think filed in California, as far as I know not one of the defendants has been served a complaint. As far as we know, there has been no developments on that particular matter as we speak," Pangilinan said.
PLDT said it is also enhancing its policies procedures and controls relating to capEx management processes.
Corporate officials who were asked to go on leave while investigation is ongoing remains as is, as the company discuss their status.
The company said its telco core income hit P33.1 billion in 2022, up 10 percent from 2021.
It said that mobile data revenues were up 2 percent last year, while average monthly data usage was up 26 percent, and mobile data traffic up 32 percent.
PLDT’s fintech subsidiary Maya Bank also hit 1.6 million customers in six months after its full launch.
With a report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News