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Thursday, September 19 2019 @ 02:15 am EDT

Seven Post Office Officials Fired in "Network of Opportinitites" Scandal

Corruption By Zelideth Cortez for La Critica - Seven people who were working at Panama's National Directorate of Mail and Telegraphs (COTEL) have been fired, according to the Minister of Government and Justice Jose Raul Mulino, who stressed this was a "national network dedicated to crime." The seven were fired after losses totaling more than $1.4 million dollars from the program "Network of Opportunities" were discovered. Mulino said this criminal network, which has been operating since 2006, was involved in embezzling funds intended for poor people. Mulino said the program was handled with "disorder and disheveledness" by post official officials who received in their names checks of up to $60,000 dollars to later be distributed. However, there is no paper record to prove the money actually was later distributed to the intended recipients. Other officials traveled via air with millions of dollars in cash, traveling from province to province like some kind of an "official Santa Claus" to supposedly distribute the money. According to the investigations that have already been initiated, the majority of these thefts used the same "modus operandi" and already there is one person under arrest who has confessed, and there are others under investigation by the authorities. With the start of the "Network of Opportunities", an interinstitutional agreement was established assigning the job of distributing the money to the families that were supposed to receive the financial support to the post office. According to the director of this entity, Teresa de Montilla, their first indication of a problem was detected on 24 July 2009 when her office received a large quantity of checks with "exorbitant amounts" written in the names of post office employees. She immediately ordered an investigation that uncovered surprising results. Meanwhile, Vice Minister of MIDES, Susy de Varela, said the program will not be eliminated, but each payment will be made while the investigations continue. DETAILS - The senior leadership of MIDES said they are conducting internal audits in order to submit the appropriate legal denouncements before the Public Ministry. (See Comments)

Editor's Comment: So, the administration of Martin Torrijos, since 2006, was supposedly handing out millions of dollars to poor people as part of this "Network of Opportunities" program, and the responsibility to actually distribute the funds was given to the Post Office? I mean, these are the guys who can't even deliver a friggin' letter without losing it - we're going to trust them with millions of dollars in cash? And now we're supposed to believe that no one above the lower level worker bees (who will undoubtedly go to prison) knew a damn thing? This is what you get when there is no independent, outside, third party auditing of governmental money and funds while any one government or administration is in power. Why do we have to wait five years to hear about this crap? How come no one from the adminisration of Mireya Moscoso ever went to prison for all of the millions of dollars they stole? And I'm still waiting to see anyone, and I mean anyone who used to have the title of "Minister," "Vice President," "National Assembly Deputy" or "President" for that matter go to jail. And of course, I'm also not holding my breath. But come on, the Post Office for crying out loud? Give me a break...

Red de Oportunistas en Correos

Zelideth Cortez | Crítica en Línea

Siete funcionarios que laboraban en la Dirección Nacional de Correos y Telégrafos (COTEL) fueron destituidos, el ministro de Gobierno y Justicia, José Raúl Mulino, destacó que se trata de una "red nacional dedicada a delinquir"

Siete funcionarios que laboraban en la Dirección Nacional de Correos y Telégrafos (COTEL) fueron destituidos, al descubrirse pérdidas por 1 millón 483,315.02 de los fondos pertenecientes al Programa Red de Oportunidades.

El ministro de Gobierno y Justicia, José Raúl Mulino, destacó que se trata de una "red nacional dedicada a delinquir", que operaba desde el 2006 y se dedicaba a malversar los fondos destinados a las personas de escasos recursos.

Mulino informó que el programa fue manejado con "desorden y desgreño" por funcionarios de esta dirección que recibían a su nombre cheques hasta de 60 mil dólares para luego ser distribuidos. Sin embargo, no existe un documento que registre si en realidad ese dinero llegó a los beneficiarios.

Otros funcionarios se trasladaban vía aérea con cifras millonarias en efectivo, viajando de provincia en provincia como un "Santa Claus Oficialista" para supuestamente repartir el dinero.

Según las investigaciones, que ya se han iniciado, la mayoría de estos robos tienen un mismo "modus operandi" y ya hay una persona detenida y confesa, y otras en proceso de investigación por parte de las autoridades competentes.

Con el inicio del Programa "Red de Oportunidades", se estableció un convenio interinstitucional en el que se asigna a los correos la labor de distribuir y entregar el dinero a las familias beneficiadas con el proyecto.

Según la directora de esta entidad, Teresa de Montilla, todo inició cuando el pasado 24 de julio recibió en su despacho una gran cantidad de cheques con "sumas exorbitantes", a nombre de funcionarios de la misma institución. De inmediato, ordenó una investigación que determinó resultados sorprendentes.

Mientras, la viceministra del MIDES, Susy de Varela, manifestó que el programa no será eliminado, pero cada pago se hará efectivo en la medida que se adelanten las investigaciones.

DETALLES - Los altos cargos del MIDES adelantaron que se están realizando las auditorías internas para proceder a interponer las denuncias pertinentes ante la Procuraduría.

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