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Friday, August 01 2014 @ 01:45 AM EDT

Proposal To Strengthen The ANATI (Draft)

CorruptionLast week, several members of the National Land Council received in black and white a document that crystallizes the government's intentions to further modify the legislation concerning land titles. It was a draft of a bill which basically aims to give more powers to the National Land Authority (Anati), to perpetuate the administrator for seven years on the job, and to eliminate the issuance of free land titles in any form. It was learned that the Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, and the Comptroller General, Gioconda de Bianchini (both members of the Land Council) have in their hands the reforms promoted by the Director of the ANATI Franklin Oduber Burillo. Oduber's interest is that the draft bill be reviewed by members of the Land Council, to be submitted as soon as possible to the Executive Cabinet.

The legislative initiative would be managed through the Ministry of Housing and Land Management (Miviot), which is also part of the Land Council.

The reforms would be comprehensive. Included in the draft are articles from Law 80 of 2009, which recognizes the rights of possession, and regulates land titles in coastal areas, and articles from Law 59 of 2010 that created the ANATI. These changes are proposed after the controversial titles were issued on 54 hectares of land in John Hombrón, and later a parcel of land in Paitilla measuring more than 11,000 square meters was granted to the florist Cesar Segura, free of charge, which was subsequently returned to the state after irregularities were detected.

SEVEN YEARS IN THE POST - Supposedly with these modifications the government seeks to plug gaps that have been left in the two laws. But sources consulted do not believe these are the genuine intentions, in part, because of the proposal for the General Manager of the ANATI to be designated by the president and then ratified by the National Assembly for a period of seven years in office, which would begin to run from the enactment of the law. This would mean that the director of the ANATI would be in charge at least until 2019 if the bill is passed this year. And what's more, only the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court would be able to remove him from office.

Carlos Gasnell, the Executive Vice President of the Foundation for the Development of Civic Freedom, calls attention to the "shielding" the appointment of the director of the Anati for a time exceeding the presidential term. "This could be justified if there was a real intention to depoliticize this institution, which is not observed in the formation of the National Land Council," he said. Gasnell advocates for an an integrated Land Council with representative sectors of society, and not only by officials such as the Ministers of Economy, Agricultural Development, the Comptroller, the Directors of the Public Registry, Environment, and ANATI.

The former Minister of Finance Alberto Vallarino, who in the past objected to several legal changes, including the law that created the Anati which gives absolute power in the area of ​​land titling, also criticized the proposal. He believes that the charges of this type must be available to each administration. The most convenient, in his view, is that the administrator should be left in the position just six months after the presidential term ends in which he worked, to make an orderly transition. Currently, the Anati director is appointed for a period of five years and is freely removable.

Official Sales - The proposal in the hands of several of the ministers of the government of Ricardo Martinelli also includes the proposal for the ANATI to be able to officially sell vacant lands owned by the state including coastal and island territory, where there are no legitimate material possessory right, through the methods specified in the Law of Act Procurement. According to Gasnell, the draft bill changes the character of the coastal zones set in the Constitution which says they are "not be adjudicated." "They are trying to allow for the award of these lands without many parameters, significantly increasing the power and discretion of the Administrator of the ANATI," he said.

In this analysis the law of public procurement would have to be considered, which allows for tenders by invitation and direct contracting, both methods which have been strongly questioned about the possible involvement of favoritism. It is unknown whether these mechanisms would be used when the state puts public lands for sale under its own initiative.

The document prepared by the ANATI also emphasizes that the entity would have total authority over landfills and the granting of concessions, without giving further details of this scope.

La Prensa sent an email to Oduber, the Director Anati, to learn about the basics of the changes he is proposing, but at press time the interview request was not granted. He also did not answer the questions sent by email. His press office reported that Oduber had received the request but would respond this week.

La Prensa also consulted the Finance Minister on the reforms to be presented to the Cabinet. The questions submitted via email were not answered. The calls were not answered.

It is assumed that this week the issue will be addressed in the National Land Council. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: This proposal can only be described as "Franklin Oduber's Wet Dream." Right now there is a war waging between the PRD and the CD over who stole more land through these offices. Before the CD came along, the PRD when they were in office (2004 - 2009) used the offices of Catastro (tax office) and the office of Agrarian Reform to steal at least 88 parcels of land worth God-knows-how-many millions of dollars, in places like the islands in the Las Perlas archipelago, in Bocas del Toro, and in along the Northern shores of the Los Santos province. When the CD took over (2009 - 2014) the passed two laws, 59 and 80, which created the ANATI. They have since used this office to ILLEGALLY grant land titles all over hell - Paitilla, Juan Hombron, Punta Chame, Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, in the province of Colon, and who knows where else. Those documents are now safely buried in Franklin Oduber's desk. The Public Ministry and the Attorney General are now actively investigating those complaints against the PRD, but they are not doing a damn thing against what Franklin Oduber and the former Minister of the Presidency Jimmy Papadimitriu did on their watch. So now because Franklin Oduber knows where the bodies (titles) are buried, he has the balls to put forth this proposal that would lock him in office until 2019, and protect him from being removed by the next president, except by the Supreme Court. Yeah - not likely to happen. Nice try, though. Much more likely is that eventually Franklin Oduber will go the way of Jimmy Papadimitriu - out the damn door because he is becoming more of a political burden than he's worth. The criminal complaints are just starting to roll in on what these guys have been doing in office. Franklin Oduber has already received the first on, on the Punta Chame case. And, there will be more. This is a move on his part to try to quickly solidify his position, forever. He's doing it because he know's he's severely exposed. But he has some leverage, the knowledge of who did what, when, so he's trying to parlay one against the other. It's a nice play, politically speaking, but his timing is all wrong. Notice that this article has been filed under the "Corruption" Category of articles, for a reason.

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Proposal To Strengthen The ANATI (Draft) | 1 comments | Create New Account
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Proposal To Strengthen The ANATI (Draft)
Authored by: susangg on Monday, September 10 2012 @ 02:37 PM EDT

If half the things you describe are actually in this proposed legislation, what the government is signalling is, quite simply: Corruption now! Corruption tomorrow! Corruption forever! The whole purpose is to maximize the graft that will flow to the lands office people, from the top honchos down to the mid level paper pushers. Come and get it! And the hundreds of people who are legitimately holding island and coastal ROP land with their homes and businesses and who were promised titles under Law 80? The message to them is: Screw you, suckers! And nowhere will the "corruption forever" message be more unhappily received than among the people of Bocas, whether they are locals or foreign retirees or small businesses.