By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has agreed to an P11.48-million settlement with Allied Care Experts (ACE) Medical Center-Cebu, Inc., after the latter was accused of enticing the public to invest in the company through a share sale without regulatory approval.
In an advisory posted on its website Tuesday, the SEC said it has accepted ACE’s settlement offer amid its supposed violation of Sections 8 and 12 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) , which pertain to the registration of securities.
ACE had allegedly been selling and offering its shares to investors without the required registration statement that should have been filed and approved by the SEC, according to additional documents provided by the commission’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD).
Proceeds from the share sale were to be used for the construction of ACE’s hospital in Cebu, scheduled to be finished before the end of the year.
Previous media reports showed that five ACE shareholders tagged the share sale as an investment scam, as it promised hospital and medical benefits in exchange for a stake in the medical center.
The SEC then summoned ACE to a conference to discuss the supposedly illegal share sale, where the company claimed that it had already halted the offering.
Noting that the offering was limited in nature, ACE requested that the commission be “liberal” in its interpretation of the requirements set out under the SRC for the registration of securities.
“Thereafter, ACE-Cebu offered to settle the case by paying P11.48 million, which was accepted by the SEC,” the commission said.
Such settlements are allowed under Section 5 of the SEC Rules of Procedure, which states in part that, “any person who is the subject of an investigation which may ripen into an administrative action, or any person already subject of an administrative sanction, may, at any time, propose in writing to the director of the EIPD an offer of settlement under SRC Rule 55.1.”