Jul 122013

The businesswoman implicated in multi-billion peso ghost projects being probed by the National Bureau of Investigation has refuted accusations an alleged former employee leveled against her, her brother and her company, JLN Corporation.

Janet Lim Napoles said in an affidavit she submitted to the Department of Justice that her accuser, Benhur Luy, was not her employee and that the “JLN Group of Companies” Luy has identified is not her JLN Corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Napoles’ affidavit was filed last June, but the Department of Justice released it only on Friday.

“JLN has never transacted business or closed deals with the government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, much less the government offices which Benhur mentioned and especially those enumerated by (Luy’s relatives) Arturo, Gertrudes, Arthur, and Annabelle… in their joint sworn statement,” Napoles said.

Her company was alleged to have been tapped in ghost projects of the government allegedly pegged in one report as totalling P10 billion worth of projects, including the fertilizer fund scam, the

Malampaya fund scam, and anomalies in the implementation of several PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund)-funded projects.

She did acknowledge that trading in construction materials is among the concerns of her JLN Corp.

“I certainly was not involved in any of the high profile scams which occured during the previous administration,” Napoles said in an affidavit she submitted to the Department of Justice.

The businesswoman said the fact her name and that of her company were never mentioned in a Sandiganbayan resolution dismissing a case connected to the fertilizer fund mess “proved that I and my business outfit are not involved in said scam.”

Earlier, the NBI said Napoles and her brother Reynaldo Lim illegally detained Luy, who claimed to be a lead employee of JLN Group of Companies and a probable witnesses in the fund scam.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, dismissed the NBI complaint for lack of probable cause. The NBI has asked the DOJ prosecutors to reconsider their decision to dismiss.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima had ordered the “rescue” of Luy, following a March 1 letter from Luy’s relatives asking the government’s help in ensuring his safety. They claimed Luy had written them a letter in which he supposedly claims he was being held by the siblings against his will.

In his own affidavit, Luy claimed Napoles “detained” him after the latter found out he was planning to put up a business similar to Napoles’ JLN Corp.

But in its resolution, the DOJ said that contrary to Luy’s family’s claim in their complaint, the victim’s letter did not say he was being taken against his will.

In her affidavit, Napoles said Luy’s claim that she owns the “JLN Group of Companies” was a “product if his imagination,” adding that he was not an employee of JLN Corp and that he was free to put up his own business. Napoles said Luy even owns an internet shop and a medical diagnostic laboratory.

“Benhur’s assertion that he wanted to establish his own business and contacts similar to JLN Corp is an implied admission that JLN Corp is engaged in a legitimate business. He certainly would not admit in his sworn statement that the business he wished to open is illegal,” Napoles said.

Napoles was summoned to a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing in 2008 on the fertilizer fund scam, in which funds supposed to have been released to farmer-beneficiaries were allegedly diverted to the campaign kitty of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 elections.  — ELR, GMA News

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