on re-reading this thread, I have realized that probably what is happening on your server is that *every* folder needs it's own php.ini file. The folders that were already there, such as the folder with the script that shows PHP info, function OK because they already have a php.ini, but the new folder, i.e. "mod/hotpot", does not have a php.ini.
Therefore, I think you need to put copy a php.ini file from another Moodle folder, e.g. from the "mod" folder, into the "mod/hotpot" folder.
That should do it!