Contributed by: Don WinnerThe Supreme Court decision that closed the case against the former Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriu, over the titles issued for parcels of land in Juan Hombrón, did not take up the merits of the matter, that is, the alleged anomalies in the process, but rather the decision was based on a technicality. The ruling, in the presentation of Judge Hernán de León, and dated June 28, or 15 days before Papadimitriu resigned from office, responded to a specific request made by the Attorney General Jose Ayu Prado, who in his conclusions about the process warned that the complainant, Wigberto Jaramillo, presented no summary evidence, which is mandatory in proceedings for the alleged commission of the crimes of abuse of authority and violation of the duties of public servants, as initiated on 15 November 2011 against the then minister. In his prosecutor's opinion, Ayu Prado also concluded that the evidence provided by Jaramillo, the community leader from John Hombrón in Cocle, did not prove the link between Papadimitriu and the other crimes for which he was charged: embezzlement, trafficking influences, forgery and criminal conspiracy. (Prensa)
Editor's Comment: No real surprise here. When there are legal cases at this level of government, the facts of the case and the evidence never really matter all that much. While everyone knows Jimmy Papadimitriu caused the Juan Hombron scandal, there was a quid pro quo - the case against him and his associates will all go away, he will leave office, and he loses whatever money he paid to the people in Juan Hombron in order to try to take over that land. But, there's a problem. We now know that Juan Hombron was just the first case, of many. We now know the same people committed the same crimes all over the country - in Punta Chame, Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, and other cases that have been bought to my attention. In short, the cat is out of the bag. Everyone now knows what to look for. They know how to file the cases against the corruption. And, they have already fired the one bullet they had to protect Papadimitriu - he resigned. But, you can't resign twice. Let's see just how far the administration of Ricardo Martinelli is willing to go in order to cover for and protect Jimmy Papadimitriu, as these other emerging cases make their way through the system. They where hoping to make the whole Juan Hombron thing go away, with an eye towards the 2014 elections. Jimmy Papadimitriu had to go, because the Juan Hombron case became a political liability. But, what happens when there are about two or three dozen cases that are identical to Juan Hombron?
What Should Happen: The Director of the ANATI reports directly to president Ricardo Martinelli. It is now perfectly clear (to me, details coming) that Franklin Oduber is more part of the problem than the solution. Titles were issued on land in the spring of 2012, well after the Juan Hombron scandal broke, after Anabel Villamonte was long gone, while Jimmy Papadimitriu was still in office and before he resigned, in which Franklin Oduber played a key role. And once again, in this case they used collusion, corruption, influence peddling, abuse of office, and perjury to flat out STEAL land worth millions of dollars from American investors. President Martinelli should immediately order a freeze on all land transfers. They should conduct a comprehensive audit of all titles issued by the ANATI, starting with its creation. They should focus on any land close to the ocean, because apparently the corrupt government officials decided they wanted to steal as much beachfront property as possible.
Outside Justice: And this Supreme Court decision makes another thing perfectly clear - those who have been affected cannot expect any level of "justice" from the bought and paid for Panamanian Supreme Court. They will have to seek justice through international tribunals, and using other means and methods to put pressure on the government of Panama from the outside. Of course this situation will most likely change, as it becomes more and more apparent that it makes no sense to try to cover for or continue to protect Papadimitriu, and they will probably toss him under the bus. Expect more to come as the emerging cases take shape and develop.