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Thursday, September 19 2019 @ 08:23 am EDT

Embezzelment of More Than $1 Million From The "Network of Opportunities"

CorruptionBy Grisel Bethancourt for La Critica - The organization called the "Red de Oportunidades" (Network of Opportunities), stated under the administration of Martin Torrijos, is once again in the eye of the storm. Yesterday a criminal complaint was filed for the alleged crime of embezzlement, forgery, corruption of public officials and conspiracy to commit a crime. Social Development Minister Guillermo Ferrufino said that during a preliminary audit of only 20% of the resources managed by the program they detected irregularities of more than $1 million dollars. Irregularities were detected in the payment of travel expenses, in the payroll, checks with insufficient supporting documentation, and the repetition of the same document to justify several payments. What's more, checks were written payable to permanent staff members, who then cashed those checks and handed the money over to three officers of the Network of Opportunities, who then supposedly had the responsibility of making cash payments to other staff members who supposedly conducted the census to identify those people who could be included as beneficiaries of the Network of Opportunities program. "No supporting documentation exists to prove what the money was used for, how it was spent, nor are there any receipts or documentation to support the payment of expenses and payments made with these checks," said the criminal complaint. Meanwhile, Panama's Minister of Health Franklyn Vergara filed a complaint with the Office of the Special Anti Corruption Prosecutor for the loss of a motorboat and over "employees" who don't show up to work but who are receiving salaries. This case involves more than 10 officers of all ranks who receive salaries of up to $2,800 per month. (See Comments)

Editor's Comment: The criminal complaints against the former government officials who used to work for the administration of Martin Torrijos continue to come hot and heavy. There is literally a different news story or article about new complaints and allegations being filed every day. I literally can't keep track of them all. The complaints are coming from all Ministries, and obviously the marching orders were that the first order of business would be to clean house, and to hold those people who used to run these offices responsible for the crimes they committed while they were in power. Now, let's see how quickly these cases are investigated and taken to trial. Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez said "Martinelli can't sent anyone to prison." True, but they sure can file criminal complaints, collect evidence, and investigate the damages left behind by the PRD.

Denuncian golpe de $1 millón a Red de Oportunidades

Grisel Bethancourt | Crítica en Línea

La Red de Oportunidades que implementó el pasado Gobierno está nuevamente en el ojo de la tormenta al ser interpuesta una querella penal por el supuesto delito de peculado, falsedad, corrupción de funcionarios y asociación ilícita para delinquir.

El ministro de Desarrollo Social, Guillermo Ferrufino, dijo que una auditoría preliminar de apenas el 20% de los recursos que manejó la Red se detectaron irregularidades por un millón de dólares.

Se detectaron irregularidades en pago de viáticos, en las planillas de pago, cheques con documentos sustentarios, repetición de documentos para justificar diversos pagos.

Además, los cheques se giraban a favor del personal permanente, que cambiaba y entregaba el efectivo a 3 funcionarios de la Red de Oportunidades, quienes tenían la responsabilidad de efectuar el desembolso al personal que realizaba los censos para incluir a los beneficiarios del programa Red de Oportunidades.

"No existe sustento de que el dinero haya sido utilizado para lo que se decía que debía ser utilizado, ni se presentaba el sustento de los gastos y pagos realizados con esos cheques", menciona la querella penal.

En tanto, el ministro de Salud, Franklyn Vergara, presentó una denuncia ante la Fiscalía Anticorrupción por pérdida de una motonave y funcionarios que no laboraban en la institución y recibían salarios.

El caso alcanza a más de 10 funcionarios de todo de tipo de jerarquías y salarios de hasta $2,800.

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