"All Corrupt Officials Are Going Down..."

Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 10:49 AM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

The lead story in La Prensa this morning is, once again, about corruption. Ana Matilde Gómez, Panama's Attorney General, announed that there are more undercover operations ongoing, and that all corrupt public officials are "going to fall, sooner or later." It's about time. Since her appointment, Ana Matilde Gómez has been Martin Torrijos' "point man" in the fight against corruption of government officials. In the last couple of months, and especially since the end of the strikes against the reforms to the social security system, the Panamanian government has been hammering on corruption from all possible angles.

This most recent statement on corruption comes on the heels of the arrest of Arquímedes Sáez, the prosecutor from Chorrera who was caught red-handed in a sting operation taking a $2,000 bribe to release a women who was being held on charges of "proxenetismo" (the corruption of a minor). While I don't know the details of this case, people charged with this crime usually are related in some way to prostitution. So, this Sáez guy was probably going to take $2,000 to let a pimp walk, a pimp who was exploiting minors for the sex trade. That explains where the money comes from.

There was another high profile case last week. Cirilo Carrasco was a high ranking official in the (get this) anticorruption prosecutor's office, and he was caught taking $500 to release another prisoner who was being detained.

In talking about the Public Ministry (where both Sáez and Carrasco worked, Ana Matilde Gómez said "I already know there are more officials in this ministry who are less than honest, and sooner or later they are all going down."

Since March of 2005, five different prosecutors have been arrested for different crimes related to corruption.

So, its now obvious the government is now focusing on the Public Ministry. Personally, I applaud these efforts and anything else the government can do to clean up corruption in Panama. Keep it up, guys. It's going to take a long time and a lot of effort. And, the campaign would impress a lot more people if someone with a last name like Balladares, Moscoso, or Spadafora was seen being led away in handcuffs. Busting mid-level chumps is easy, kinda like cherry-picking. But you're really not going to impress anyone until you take down at least one real heavyweight. For us, his name was Nixon. Reagan (Iran-Contra) and Clinton (Monica) got away with it... but at least we tried.

ADVERTENCIA.MINISTERIO PÚBLICO.

‘Todos los corruptos van a caer’: Gómez Los abogados de Sáez solicitaron que se le conceda una fianza de excarcelación a su cliente.

La fiscal primera superior, Yolanda Austin, realizó una auditoría al despacho de Sáez en La Chorrera.

José Otero, jotero@prensa.com Luego de los dos últimoscasos de corrupción interna descubiertos en el Ministerio Público, la procuradora de la Nación, Ana Matilde Gómez, anunció ayer lunes que hay otras operaciones encubiertas en ejecución y que todos los funcionarios implicados en actos delictivos "van a caer, tarde o temprano".

El sábado pasado el fiscal segundo de Circuito de La Chorrera, Arquímedes Sáez, fue detenido en una operación conjunta con la policía y el Consejo de Seguridad cuando cobraba una coima de 2 mil dólares al padre de una joven detenida por el delito de proxenetismo, para otorgarle una medida cautelar.

Una semana antes, Cirilo Carrasco, oficial mayor de la Fiscalía Primera Anticorrupción, también fue apresado in fraganti cuando recibía unacoima de 500 dólares para favorecer a un detenido con una libertad condicional.

"Yo sé que hay más funcionarios de esta institución en prácticas que no son las más honestas, y tarde o temprano van a caer" recalcó Gómez.

Destacó que contra Sáez había varias denuncias de actuaciones irregulares, pero que no tenían pruebas concretas contra él, por lo que "todo era cuestión de tiempo" para desenmascararlo, añadió.

Hoy, la magistrada del Segundo Tribunal, Elvia Batista, decide si Sáez se mantiene detenido o le concede la fianza. .

CASOS EN TRÁMITE

. FISCAL NEDELKA DÍAZ Separada de su cargo en marzo de 2005

. FISCAL GIOVANNY OLMOS: Destituido en abril de 2005.

. FISCAL EDWÍN ÁLVAREZ Destituido en junio de 2005.

. FISCAL HUMBERTO COLLADO: Separado del cargo en junio de 2005.

. FISCAL ARQUÍMEDES SÁEZ: Arrestado en agosto de 2005.

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