MANILA— An accountant hired by embattled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. on Thursday denied seeing any document that would prove that an officer indeed got cash advances for a luxury car after securing billions worth of pandemic supply deals with the government.
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon said Mohit Dargani, Pharmally's secretary and treasurer, supposedly borrowed money from the company to buy a luxury car for his sister Twinkle, the firm's president.
But the outsourced accountant, Jeff Mariano, said he did not see any documents reflecting such transactions.
Being an outsourced accountant means he only records transactions based on documents presented. He pointed out, however, that he is familiar with the firm's audited financial statements.
"Wala po akong nakitang cash advances related to a car, 'yun po 'yung ibig kong sabihin," Mariano explained.
(I did not see any cash advances related to a car. That's what I mean)
Earlier, Mariano said he "was not sure" about the specifics because the books are in Pharmally's office. This was why Gordon clarified what he was saying is true.
"Sinabi mo na 'wala akong nakita kanina'," the lawmaker said.
(You said earlier you did not see any.)
To which the accountant replied: "In relation to the car po, parang wala po akong maalalang cash advance."
(I can't remember any cash advances)
Further pressed if he even checked where the money could have been used, Mariano said he was only hired to record the transactions.
"We are not required po to inquire of management, we only rely on the truthfulness and veracity sa mga pag-ano po 'yung engagement nila (of their engagement)," he said.
External accountant Iluminada Sebial, the person who signed the transactions, in previous Senate hearings said she was also hired to do the same and was only paid P4,000.
The Darganis were absent in the day's hearings, even if they have a contempt order for refusing to submit crucial documents that would show their transactions.
Dargani on Oct. 5 said he asked Pharmally's board if he could get the money for the car "verbally."
"I requested the board if I can, yes... it is a verbal agreement," Mohit had said.
Records from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) showed that Twinkle had a 2021 Lamborghini Urus registered under her name in December 2020, about 9 months since their first transaction with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
That vehicle is worth P25 million.
Five months later, Mohit got a 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S registered under his name. The car costs P8.5 million.
When asked by the senators if he even saw a dividend among shareholders for Mohit's supposed cash advance, Mariano said he saw none last year and this year.
"Based po, if my memory serves right po parang wala pa pong (there are no) dividends," he said, noting that they are recording Pharmally's transactions monthly.
"If my memory serves me right po parang wala pang dividends," he repeated.
The Senate panel is investigating Pharmally after records showed that the budget department's procurement service awarded billions of pesos worth of government contracts to the company that only had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.
The government denies there was overpricing and said the deals were above board.
The panel has so far recommended the filing of various charges against Pharmally's officers, Chinese businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, and former budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, among others, due to the allegedly anomalous transactions.