Looks like Leila de Lima, the Department of Justice secretary in the Philippines, wasn’t kidding.
Days after she confirming that bribery investigations surrounding Kazuo Okada is still on-going despite the recent filing of anti-dummy law charges against the Japanese gambling tycoon and his cohorts, De Lima’s agency, together with the National Bureau of Investigation, are planning to send agents to Tokyo, Japan to continue its investigation into the $40 million in payments made by Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. to former officials of Pagcor .
“We were told to prepare a team that will go to Tokyo to interview face-to-face people who have direct information about these payments and find out if the monies were indeed bribes in exchange for some government action,” one source familiar to the situation told Reuters.
The trip to Japan by the DOJ and NBI agents will hopefully yield more information on the wheelings and dealings of Universal Entertainment . Multiple interviews with former employees of Okada are being lined up. Likewise, the DOJ and NBI agents plan to talk to their Japanese counterparts in an effort to coordinate the investigation with hopes of coming to a speedy and conclusive resolution.
Neither the Philippine authorities nor Universal Entertainment have made any comments about this latest chapter in the on-going investigation and the Reuters source refused to disclose his identity due to the confidentiality of the issue.
This latest development, and the Philippines’ apparent seriousness in diving into this case, shows that despite the DOJ’s proclamation back in July that there was not enough evidence to slap the Japanese billionaire with bribery charges, a lot of things have changed, especially after De Lima told the Manila Standard-Today late last week that there is now “documentary evidence indicating that there was indeed bribery”.
Whatever those DOJ and NBI agents discover on their fact-finding trip to Okada’s motherland, the message is being made clear to the Japanese tycoon: don’t think you’re out of the woods yet just because you weren’t charged the first time.