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Friday, August 23 2019 @ 10:11 pm EDT

Transparency International Calls For New Anti Corruption Czar To Be Truly Independent

CorruptionAngelica Maytín, the Executive President of the Foundation for the Panamanian Chapter of Transparency International, questioned the government's decision to create the new National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information, replacing the old office of the Secretary of Transparency Against Corruption.

"Frankly, I'm not surprised by the government's decision to create this Authority for Transparency and Access to Information," she said.

She said she was sure the reason for this measure is that in the end of November 2013 the V Conference of the States who are Party to the UN Convention Against Corruption will be held in Panama, as will the VII Conference and Annual Meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities, "and the national government needs to show some progress, so they think that be creating this new 'body' they will achieve that goal."

She thinks there are other issues that should be higher priorities in the issues of improving transparency and fighting corruption.

"From our point of view, rather than passing this law, passing a law to protect those persons who file complaints and report corruption would have had more of an impact, and to reform Law 59 of 1999, to expand the base of government officials who are required to file a Declaration of Real Estate and personal holdings - for example to include the Deputies in the National Assembly - because right now only the President is required to file, and to allow the office of the Comptroller General to audit such statements, measures that are part of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and that we have not complied," she added.

"It is true that it was recommended that the Anti Corruption Secretariat be independent, but if the person who selected to be in charge of that office is not subject to a review and scrutiny, and if people with little academic preparation and no experience in this area are appointed, as has been the case in the past, this will not achieve the desired goal. The person who directs the Authority should reach the office based on their merits, and not because of their proximity to the current government," she questioned. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Yeah, right. Distance from the president. Martinelli appointed his cousin. The creation of this new National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information is another ploy by the administration of Ricardo Martinelli to practically extend his time in office. He will appoint the new Director of this National Authority, and I'm sure the law will be written in such a way as to make it practically impossible for the next president to remove or replace that person after the 2014 elections. So, Martinelli is locking down one of the major organizations that's supposed to be charged with reporting and investigating and denouncing corruption. This is the way the game is played on this field - it's as simple as that.

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