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'Watchlisted' no more
April 10, 2012 | Share
The constant threat that has been hanging like the proverbial sword of Damocles over the heads of eight Nomad Sports Club board members since August last year is finally gone, and the apparent ’injustice’ wrought by an undeserved ‘punishment’ hopefully consigned to oblivion, if not the trash bin.
The Watchlist Order issued against directors Jonathan Thorp, Matthew Freeston, Thomas Whitwell, Al Cervero, Andrew Yates, Iain Sinclair, Keith Warne and Faisal Durrani-Khan was lifted and their names ordered deleted from the Bureau of Immigration’s WLO last December 13 by the Department of Justice’s Chief Legal Counsel Ricardo V. Paras III.
The onerous document, which is issued by the DoJ against citizens or residents who have undecided court cases, was applied to the 2008 NSC Board in connection with the criminal complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the Club for alleged violation of the Securities Regulation Code.
At the time the WLO was issued, the complaint was pending resolution before the National Prosecution Service of the Justice Department. Last January, however, the DOJ issued a ruling of ‘probable cause’ and recommended the filing of charges against the NSC. (See related story)
During the whole period that the WLO was in effect, the Board members concerned, who serve the Club on a voluntary basis, suffered massive financial losses and untold personal inconvenience as most of them require foreign travel in the course of their jobs and business interests. They were obligated to obtain an Allow Departure Order each time they traveled out of the country which involved paying the fees, reporting to the Consular Office of the country that they were travelling to and then reporting back to the Department of Justice upon each return.
To speed up the lifting of the WLO, NSC filed a petition with the DoJ on September 26, 2011. However, SEC Supervising Commissioner Huberto B. Gaiteacted with lightning speed to oppose the request two days after the letter was submitted.
On November 22, the SEC filed an Urgent Request for Watch List Order against the Board claiming “there is real danger that the respondents who are mostly foreign nationals may flee the country to avoid criminal liaibility.”
The Department of Justice denied the request stating that the rationale for the issuance of a WLO is based on the fact that the respondents are “flight-risks”. It stated that “during the existence of the WLO, Messrs. Thorp, Freeston and Sinclair requested the DoJ for the issuance of an Allow Departure Order (ADO) to travel outside the country and faithfully complied with all the conditions set forth”.
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