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Sunday, February 01 2015 @ 08:44 PM EST

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Doens Amplifies Complaint Before Anti Corruption Prosecutor

CorruptionBy Kathyria Caicedo for Telemetro - In view of the allegations made by Mitchell Doens, the Secretary General of the PRD, the 3rd Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office opened an official investigation. After presenting a DEA report, which mentions Grupo Banistmo Capital S.A., Doens made a sworn statement to the prosecutor to amplify his complaint. When the DEA report was issued, Banistmo was led by Alberto Vallarino, the Minister of Economy and Finance. The same DEA report also listed several banks in Costa Rica, which according to Doens were closed in the incident and there were several arrests.
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"PECC Was Created to Steal Taxes"

CorruptionBy SANTIAGO Fascetto for La Prensa - The former Comptroller Alvin Weeden said yesterday that the company Ports Engineering and Consultants Ltd. (ECCP) was created to "steal tax money" from the State. He accused, by first and last name, those politicians who benefited with the money generated by the company: Hugo Torrijos, Rubén Reyna and Ernesto Pérez Balladares. "The purpose [of PECC] was to steal tax money, they saw that it was generating $3 million dollars per year and operating expenses were only $400,000 per year. It was business," said the former official in conversation with La Prensa. In 1997 PECC signed a contract with the now defunct National Port Authority (APN) to assist in the navigation of ships arriving in Panamanian waters. Hugo Torrijos was the administrator of the APN, and Ruben Reyna was the deputy, during the administration of Perez Balladares. Weeden was tasked to carry out, in his position as the Comptroller General of the Republic, an investigation into the alleged damage to the State, which resulted in the exposure of the complex network of companies, businessmen, and politicians who were behind the PECC. "They were so cynical that they didn't even buy furniture or anything, they just used the furniture of the APN, and the Lighthouses and Buoys Section of the APN was passed to the PECC," he said. Now, the former President of PECC, Charles Jumet, confessed to the US Justice System that he paid bribes to Panamanian officials to finalize the agreement. Weeden said of the investigation in the U.S., that he collaborated with official of the justice system there, and even traveled to the United States to help investigators. In Panama, however, the court process was not successful even though, according Weeden - the respective justice systems of the two countries had the same documentation in the case.
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Former President of PECC Admits to Paying Bribes

CorruptionBy SANTIAGO Fascetto for La Prensa - The former president of Ports Engineering & Consultants Corp. (PECC), Charles Jumet, yesterday pleaded guilty before a U.S. judge of having bribed senior Panamanian officials to obtain a contract with the now defunct National Port Authority in 1997. According to court documents, Jumet was involved in a conspiracy to pay money secretly to Panamanian government officials for awarding PECC contracts to maintain lighthouses and buoys along Panama’s waterway," said a statement released yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department. In 1997, during the administration of Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999), the National Port Authority gave PECC a direct concession to assist the navigation of ships arriving in Panamanian waters. At that moment, Hugo Torrijos held the position of Administrator and Rubén Reyna held the post of Deputy Administrator. The contract gave 90% of the business income to PECC, for a service that was previously in the hands of the state. In December 1997 the company paid dividends. One of the payments was for $18,000 dollars and was made with a cashier's check made out to bearer, that was later deposited into a bank account of Perez Balladares. The former president denied, in 2003, being a shareholder in PECC and he said the $18,000 dollars was a campaign donation from Jumet for his failed campaign for reelection.

Jumet, before U.S. justice authorities, admitted having lied at first to federal agents about the fate of those $18,000 dollars. According to the Justice Department statement, Jumet acknowledged he had misrepresented that the check for the dividend payment was a donation to the reelection campaign of a "former, high-ranking elected executive official."

According to the press release, Jumet admitted that the dividend payment check was given to the "former, high-ranking elected executive official" as a bribe to sign the contract with the Government. Jumet gave this statement to the judge in Richmond (Virginia) Dennis W. Dohnal, who was conducting an investigation into alleged illegal payments of PECC in Panama, in open violation of a U.S. law that prohibits US companies from paying bribes abroad.

PECC, a Panamanian corporation, was associated with Overman Associates, an engineering firm based in Virginia. "In connection with his guilty plea, Jumet admitted that from at least 1997 through approximately July 2003, he and others conspired to make corrupt payments totaling more than $200,000 to the former administrator and deputy administrator of Panama’s National Maritime Ports Authority and to a former, high-ranking elected executive official of the Republic of Panama," said the press release. The press release went on to say that as part of his plea agreement, Jumet has agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice in its ongoing investigation.

La Prensa paper could not get a reaction from Perez Balladares, although he communicated with his spokeswoman, Catia Rojas. Reyna could not be reached, while Torrijos did speak. He said he always cooperated with the U.S. justice and that was the only official who appointed lawyers in the process four years ago. "I gave them plenty of documents," he said, adding he would not rule out traveling to the United States if requested by the judge.

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Virginia Resident Pleads Guilty to Bribing Panamanian Officials for Maritime Contract

Corruption US Justice Department - WASHINGTON – Charles Paul Edward Jumet of Fluvanna County, Va., pleaded guilty today in connection with his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes to Panamanian government officials to secure a maritime contract, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride, Joseph Persichini Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Jennifer Smith Love, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office and James A. Dinkins, Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Investigation, Washington. Jumet, 53, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal in Richmond, Va., to a two-count information charging him with conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials for the purpose of securing business for Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation (PECC) in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); and making a false statement.

PECC, a company incorporated under the laws of Panama, was affiliated with Overman Associates, an engineering firm based in Virginia Beach, Va. According to Jumet’s plea, PECC was created so Jumet, Overman Associates and others could corruptly obtain a maritime contract from the Panamanian government.

According to court documents, Jumet was involved in a conspiracy to pay money secretly to Panamanian government officials for awarding PECC contracts to maintain lighthouses and buoys along Panama’s waterway. In December 1997, the Panamanian government awarded PECC a no-bid, 20-year concession to perform these duties. In exchange for the concession, Jumet and others authorized corrupt payments to the Panamanian government officials.

In 2000, Panama’s Comptroller General’s Office suspended the contract while it investigated the government’s decision to award PECC a contract without soliciting any bids from other firms. In 2003, the Panama government resumed making payments to PECC.

In connection with his guilty plea, Jumet admitted that from at least 1997 through approximately July 2003, he and others conspired to make corrupt payments totaling more than $200,000 to the former administrator and deputy administrator of Panama’s National Maritime Ports Authority and to a former, high-ranking elected executive official of the Republic of Panama.

In his guilty plea, Jumet also admitted that he knowingly made a false statement to federal agents about a December 1997 "dividend" check payable to the bearer in the amount of $18,000, which was endorsed and deposited into an account belonging to the former, high-ranking elected executive official. Jumet admitted that he had falsely claimed that this "dividend" check was a donation for the high-ranking official’s re-election campaign. Jumet also admitted that the "dividend" check was in fact given to the former official as a corrupt payment for allowing PECC to receive the contract from the Panamanian government.

As part of his plea agreement, Jumet has agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice in its ongoing investigation. The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme. The false statement count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2010.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Rina Tucker Harris of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Dry of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI’s Richmond Field Office and ICE’s Office of Investigation, Richmond and Washington.

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Va. man pleads guilty to Panama bribes

CorruptionRICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to bribing Panamanian government officials to obtain a contract for maintenance of lighthouses and buoys. Federal prosecutors said Friday that 53-year-old Charles Paul Edward Jumet of Fluvanna County pleaded guilty to conspiring to make corrupt payments to foreign government officials and making a false statement. Each count is punishable by five years in prison. Sentencing is Feb. 12. According to court documents, in 1997 Panama awarded a no-bid, 20-year contract to Ports Engineering Consultants Corp., which was affiliated with a Virginia Beach firm, Overman Associates. Jumet, an executive of the companies, admitted that he and others paid more than $200,000 in bribes to Panamanian officials to secure the contract. The other conspirators and the Panamanian officials were not named in court documents.
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Government Seizes Figali's Property on Ft. Amador For Failure To Pay Debt

Corruption El Siglo - The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) issued an order against the administration of the company Grupo F Internacional S.A. to seize property on Ft. Amador because the company has not complied with the agreement it signed with the Panamanian government. The order was issued by the Executing Judge of the Administrative Unit of Reverted Properties of the MEF, Raul Taboada, citing breach of payment for an agreement the government entered into with the company, and the presentation of a performance bond on which the project is developed in the area of Amador. The company Grupo F. Internacional S.A. signed a contract Number 372-01 which allowed for the leasing, development, and investment of the property, under which they promised to repay the outstanding balance owed to the government for Basic Income and Infrastructure - and to make those payments within 12 months for the outstanding rent and within 24 months for the infrastructure. Figali signed the commitment after the government came in person to the company and imposed and ultimatum. Alberto Vallarino, Minister of MEF, has stated repeatedly companies who do not pay their commitments cause a very large negative impact for the population and the people of Panama, because that money enables the State to develop the many projects they have planned, especially social projects.
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Business Directors Linked To "El Toro" Called to Testify

Corruption By Grisel Bethancourt for La Critica - Six directors and officers of the company Shelf Holding Inc. and Pty Adventures Inc. have been called to make official statements starting tomorrow in the offices of Panama's Specialized Prosecutor Against Organized Crime. The prosecutor José Ayú Prado said in the investigations thus far the former president Ernesto Perez Balladares has not been called to make a statement. The prosecution is still waiting for a forensic audit report conducted by the Financial Investigation Section of the DIJ based on the unusual movements of money in three bank accounts detected by the Financial Analysis Unit. The investigation was based on companies linked to the former president which received funds from a company called Lucky Games, a company that in 1996, during the administration of Perez Balladares, received a concession to operate 500 slot machines. Thus far the office of Ayú Prado has conducted visual inspections in the Department of Revenue, Public Records, Social Security Fund, Civil Registry and Notaries. Recently, the 15th Judge Hilda Bonilla warned there could be a case of double jeopardy in the investigations being carried out by the Third Anticorruption Prosecutor and Ayu Prado, and requested that the two investigations be united. In any case, she said the charges for money laundering being investigated by the Anti Corruption Prosecutor should be declared null and the file closed, because in 1996 when the act occurred the criminal conduct - the laundering of money received from an irregularly awarded concession - was not properly regulated at that time and therefore she nullified the case and declared the case closed.
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New Case Presented in School Fiberglass Scandal

Corruption By ARTURO CARLOS CASTILLO for La Estrella - Panama's Second Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Ranses Barrera, said new evidence has been submitted against Belgis Castro, former education minister in the case involving the removal of fiberglass insulation from public schools. Barrera said the new evidence relates to schools in the province of Veraguas, and he added that the Comptroller General of the Republic is now gathering evidence and conducting inquiries. According to Barrera the case was referred last week. This is the seventh case file opened related to irregularities in the contracts to remove fiberglass insulation from public schools.
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Public Ministry Could Open Investigation Into Statements Made by Doens

CorruptionTVN Noticias - Following the statements made by the Secretary General of the PRD, Mitchell Doens on the program Diálogo, broadcast Sunday by TVN, the Public Ministry (MP) could initiate an official investigation, and to that end they have requested the videos of the program containing the accusations made by Doens. The Secretary of the PRD made certain allegations in which he mentions current government officials. According to Does, in the Cabinet "there are people linked to the laundering of drug money" and he even said that he "has reports from the DEA that will be used in due time." Panama's Second Anti Corruption prosecutor Ramses Barrera said he is waiting for the video which he will use to determine whether to begin an investigation of alleged corruption. The prosecutor said that because the alleged complaint involves the laundering of drug money that the anti drug prosecutor would have to open the investigation. (Editor's Comment: Like I said - dumb ass. Now they will open the investigation, call Doens in to testify, and make him produce these DEA reports that he allegedly has. Once the Public Ministry has them they will become public information, and we all can then see exactly what Doens was talking about. Now, was that so hard?)
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Audit Ordered in SINAPROC Corruption Probe

CorruptionLa Critica - The Comptroller of the Republic, Carlos Vallarino, ordered an audit of the former administration of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) over the irregular handling of $11,000 dollars having to do with a "self management fund" for the restaurant of this institution. The audit was ordered and will be conducted after the Anti Corruption Secretariat filed an official complaint with the Attorney General's Office. (Editor's Comment: Drip, drip, drip. The corruption complaints, investigations, and audits just keep coming, slowly but surely. The administration of Martin Torrijos was responsible for the management of about $40 billion dollars over five years. How much of that money do you think was stolen, misappropriated, lost, mismanaged, or moved offshore? No one knows, but the administration of Ricardo Martinelli will just keep looking and filing the complaints when they find a problem. If all of the PRD guys are either in jail or under investigation it will be very hard for them to challenge in 2014.)
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Corruption Complaint Filed Against the CSS for Theft of Employer's Contribution

Corruption La Estrella - Employees from the private security company MIMSA SA went to the newsroom of Telemetro to make a rather peculiar complaint involving several crimes, including corruption within the Social Security Fund (CSS). According to complainants, since 2006 the company has not paid the required social security premiums, although the company has deducted the payments from the employee's salary, yet they continued to receive their cards as if the company was making the required payments. Recently the employees, suspicious of certain actions of the company, such as the closure of their primary office and their continued operation without a fixed based of operations, went to the CSS to check on the employers contributions that should have been made to their accounts, and they were able to learn through the documents and certifications from the CSS that the company has not paid the fees since 2006. The security guards who work for this company say that corrupt government officials working for the CSS acted in cooperation with the company to issue and deliver the cards even though the respective payments had not actually been made. The company - according to those making the complaint - is owned by Sergio Aguizola and María Mariño de Anguizola. The Administrator is Sergio Davis, who has told them that he does what he wants because he is a friend of President Martinelli. The security agents are being paid in cash by a messenger who delivers the money to their job locations; that they don't know where the company owners are, and they only receive communications via telephone. They also said the company has stolen from them discounts taken from their pay to supposedly pay for other financial responsibilities. The deputy director of the CSS promised to meet with those who are making the complaints today.
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Ernesto Perez Balladares Remains In Their Sights

Corruption By MONICA PALM for La Prensa - The ruling by the judge of the Fifteenth Criminal Court, Hilda Bonilla, who declared null and void all proceedings in the investigation being carried out by the Third Anti Corruption Prosecutor against former president Ernesto Perez Balladares for the offense of crimes against the public administration, does not "freeze" the investigation being carried out by the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime. This office, under the command of José Ayú Prado, is investigating the supposed laundering of money from the companies Pty Adventures Inc. y Shelf Holding Inc., the latter controlled by Perez Balladares. Both companies received money steadily from the gambling company Lucky Games. "The decision of the Fifteenth Criminal Court only involves the case being investigated by the Third Anti Corruption Prosecutor," headed by Yolanda Austin, said Ayú Prado. The prosecutor recalled that another criminal court - the Ninth - denied a request to have his case declared null and void and to halt the investigation into the alleged money laundering, which was filed by lawyers representing PTY Adventures Inc. However the lawyer says, "that's not true." He added that the case files being investigated by both Ayú Prado and Austin are "identical", which is why they are violating, according to him, Panamanian procedural law. He also asked Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez yesterday to "combine" the two files, and to keep the investigation in Austin's office. He did so knowing that Judge Bonilla had already ruled the proceedings of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor invalid.
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Yet Another Complaint Filed Against Ana Matilde Gomez

Corruption By ARTURO CARLOS CASTILLO for La Estrella - Yet another complaint was filed against Panama's Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez, before the Office of Administration, this time by the former Representative of the District of Chepo, Ismael Batista, who accuses her of having recorded his telephone conversations. Batista said the prosecutor, by means of a resolution, ordered his telephone conversations to be recorded for ten days, for allegedly receiving bribes. (Editor's Comment: When it rains, it pours. I don't know what the details are on these phone tap complaints yet - meaning I don't know why all of a sudden people are filing complaints saying Ana Matilde Gomez ordered the phone taps and why they never complained before. Obviously, they smell blood in the water and think she's in a weakened position. As I have said on several occasions, I think it's just a matter of time before she's either forced to resign or is removed from her post.)
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"They're Making Me Nervious" - Ana Matilde Gomez

Corruption By Grisel Bethancourt for La Critica - Ana Matilde Gomez reiterated she will not resign. The head of the Public Ministry, Ana Matilde Gomez, reiterated yesterday that she does not intend to resign, however, in some circles they are not ruling out the possibility that she might be removed from her position as part of an investigation being conducted by the Office of Administration into a wiretapping ordered in 2005 by the Assistant Prosecutor as part of an investigation against then prosecutor Arquímedes Sáez for allegedly accepting bribes. Gomez launched a television media campaign yesterday in her defense, saying she did not commit any crime and questioned how a person who has been called to trial for having received bribes (Archimedes Sáez) and another person who has been sentenced in Colombia (David Murcia), has placed the Attorney General in a position where she will have to defend herself in court. She said that "they intend to fish in troubled waters, but I hope that everything will be settled according to law, because I represent a Public Ministry that is firm and resolute in its conviction to prosecute crimes, no matter if they involve high-profile political figures from previous administrations or from the current government," Ana Matilde Gomez told TVN news. Gomez explained that her possible removal from office will depend on the decision taken by the Supreme Court in a request made by the prosecutor in charge of Administration, Nelson Rojas. The attorney acknowledged it would be very sad if she is removed, because under the rule of law, her actions do not merit such a measure of this type, which put democracy on edge and that work against the constitutionality. She said the current situation is causing her anxiety, but that she trusts in God that all will be resolved according to the rule of law. Gomez thinks it would be an attack against democracy if they use a decision of unconstitutionality, and if that decision is applied retroactively and then later used in a criminal action against her.
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Investigations of Ernesto Perez Balladares Continue

CorruptionBy SANTIAGO Fascetto for La Prensa - The judge of the Panama's Ninth Criminal Circuit Court, Annabella Jimenez, denied yesterday a request to halt the investigation into suspected money laundering which is being conducted by the Special Organized Crime Prosecutor Jose Ayú Prado into the companies Pty Adventures Inc. and Shelf Holding Inc., the latter controlled by former president Ernesto Pérez Balladares. In other words: Jiménez authorized the Attorney General to continue with the investigation. Shelf Holding Inc., which moved several million dollars through the local banking system in recent years, received money steadily from Lucky Games Ltd., a company that benefited from a direct concession to operate slot machine facilities granted by the administration of Ernesto Perez Balladares in 1996, as revealed by a series of reports published in La Prensa starting on 3 August 2009. The request to halt the investigation which was rejected by the deputy judge, was presented by Jose Maria Castillo, acting as a lawyer for the company Pty Adventures Inc. "What the judge has done is to decide that our request for invalidity is not appropriate," said Castillo, who contacted La Prensa after we requested a reaction from the spokeswoman for Perez Balladares, Catia Rojas. Castillo added that the judge recommended that the two cases that have been opened against the former president in the Public Ministry should be combined. "It is a guarantee (protection) that goes back 500 years, all the way to Cain," he added. The lawyer means that, besides the investigation into money laundering, the Third Anti-Corruption Prosecutor is investigating Perez Balladares for supposed offenses against the public administration. In this case, another deputy judge, Hilda Bonilla - who is in charge of the 15th Criminal Court - decreed the end to the criminal proceedings and closed the case. But in the case being investigated by Ayú Prado, Jimenez's ruling supports the investigation of money laundering, although the defense may appeal this decision to the Second Superior Tribunal. Perez Balladares is currently in Europe, said his spokeswoman, adding that the former president could return home in late November or early December.
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Posse: Minister tried to blackmail me

Corruption By Kathyria Caicedo for Telemetro - Luis Alejandro Posse shows a document underpinning several of his claims. The former manager of the Agricultural Development Bank, Luis Alejandro Posse, has launched a campaign to clear his name after being dismissed by the Minister of Agricultural Development, Victor Manuel Perez. Posse is being accused of giving a farm in the province of Chiriqui to an alleged fellow party member. Posse, however, denies that claim. During the morning newscast on Telemetro Reporta, Luis Alejandro Posse said the minister tried to blackmail him to resign and even threatened him. According to Posse's account, Victor Manuel Perez forced him to submit his resignation for having committed acts of corruption, and when Posse did not present his resignation he was fired. Posse is requesting that the Anti Corruption Secretary and the Attorney General's Office investigate the situation, as well as mismanagement on the part of the Minister, which he sustained with several supporting documents. The former manager of the Agricultural Development Bank had admitted there were several disagreements with Perez, which might have been due to jealousy the Minister felt for him due to his good relationship with the agricultural sector of Panama.
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David Murcia Files New Complaint Filed Against Ana Matilde Gomez

Corruption By Jose Otero for La Prensa - A new criminal complaint against Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez will be presented before the Supreme Court, this time for the alleged commission of the offenses of theft of public documents and corruption of a public official. This, according to one of the lawyers defending Colombian David Murcia Guzmán, who was arrested in Panama in November 2008 and convicted in Colombia for massive fraud and the illegal collection of money. Ortiz explained that the complaint is also directed against the assistant prosecutor, Luis Martinez, the former Secretary General of the Public Ministry Rigoberto Gonzalez, the former head of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) José Ayú Prado; the Fourteenth Criminal Prosecutor, William Parodi, and the former director of Immigration Clovis Sinisterra. The lawsuit is based on the alleged concealment of 87 pages of the record of the capture of Murcia, which occurred on 19 November 2009. The lawyer says that in the file only two reports appear regarding Murica's arrest and capture that are numbered 88 and 89, and that the rest of the pages have disappeared. Ortiz said the officials lied when they stated Murcia was deported following legal procedures, because he was never taken to immigration after his capture. This is the complaint filed against Gomez, who also has another open procedure for abuse of authority.
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Posse Says He Will Not Remain Silent

Corruption Panama America - Alejandro Posse, the former manager of the Agricultural Development Bank who was fired last night by President Ricardo Martinelli, said he did not commit any act of corruption and that he will not remain silent as he did during the administration of Mireya Moscoso. Posse, who has been notified of his dismissal, explained that his presence in the National Assembly was to notify the Panameñista lawmakers of his position regarding the accusations being made against him for the supposed "irregularities" in an administration contract for a farm in the Chiriqui Province. The former official said that on Monday he will present the documentation that will serve to boost confidence in his actions, and that he would also explain to the country what he has already explained to the lawmakers of his party.
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Use of Tocumen Airport Funds Will Be Investigated

CorruptionBy RAFAEL E. BERROCAL R. for La Prensa - The manager of Tocumen S.A., Rafael Flores, confirmed they are investigating the "advanced and irregular" use of $173 million dollars by the past administration, money the company received for the award of the duty free area of the main passenger terminal. Tocumen SA is currently facing a difficult financial situation as a result of extraordinary expenditures, as well as an unpaid debt of $54 million dollars in income taxes. The funds were used to cover shortfalls in institutions and as donations to community boards this year before the elections. The fee to use the airport will be $40 dollars starting next year. As of 1 January 2010, the airport usage tax for international passenger service will increase from $20 to $40 dollars. This increase was implemented because the Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority, chaired by the Minister of Government and Justice Jose Raul Mulino, said the government has invested $100 million dollars to modernize the Tocumen International Airport to the benefit of the passengers who use the terminal area. This tax increase, which was published in the Official Gazette on Monday, maintains the existing 50% discount to retirees. In January 1993, the cost of that fee went from $10 to $20. LEONARDO FLORES.
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Martinelli Fires BDA Bank Manager Alejandro Posse

CorruptionTVN Noticias - The Manager of the Agricultural Development Bank, Alejandro Posse, has been removed from office. The Secretary of State Communications reported tonight that the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, removed Posse from office, for irregularities in the designation of a farm. which should have been evaluated and approved by the Agricultural Research Institute, IDIAP, but the bank manager assigned it to an individual. Alejandro Posse is a member of the Panameñista party and was the Minister of Agricultural Development under President Mireya Moscoso. He was also a former candidate for vice president in 2004. In his place will be assigned the sub manager Rigoberto Amaya.
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"The Public Ministry Has Not Told The Truth" - Sitton

CorruptionBy Kathyria Caicedo for Telemetro Reporta - The case of Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez has become the point of discussion in several areas, especially politics and the judiciary. Lawyer Sidney Sitton believes the Public Ministry failed to tell the truth, when ordering an intervention and an undercover operation to film and record the private communications of the former prosecutor Arquímedes Saéz. Meanwhile lawyer Silvio Guerra says Ana Matilde Gomez can only be removed from her position on an order from the Supreme Court.
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Judge Denies Bail for Former Minister Belgis Castro

CorruptionBy Jose Otero for La Prensa - Deputy circuit judge Maria Romero rejected a request for bail submitted by lawyers on behalf of former education minister Belgis Castro. Consequently, Castro will remain confined in the El Renacer prison, where he was taken on 12 October 2009 for having violated house arrest imposed by the Supreme Court. The former minister is accused of embezzlement in a case involving the removal of fiberglass insulation from public schools.
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Asking $32 Million for Company Linked To Corruption Investigation

CorruptionBy SANTIAGO Fascetto for La Prensa - The Spanish multinational company CIRSA agreed to pay two supposed shareholders in the gaming companies Lucky Games S.A. and Gaming & Services de Panama, $32 million dollars for their parts of the package of shares or ownership of these companies. The recipients of the money for this sale are Roosevelt Lito Thayer and Enrique Pretelt, the first a friend and the second the son in law of former Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares. The agreement between the Panamanians and the Spanish company closed a week ago, although the Gaming Control Board (JCJ) warned it would not approve the transaction. "We do not accept the agreement because we believe it's a lot of money, taking into account that it was a contract given directly to and in benefit of the two associates of then-President Ernesto Pérez Balladares, the Executive Secretary of the JCJ, Giselle Brea, told this newspaper yesterday. The government forced CIRSA to terminate their relationship with the two associates of Ernesto Perez Balladares as part of a deal that included the closure of some gaming rooms and increasing taxes. CIRSA, which manages in Panama more than 20 slot machine rooms, agreed to pay $32 million dollars to Thayer and Pretelt for all of the shares of Lucky Games Ltd. and a minority stake in Gaming & Services de Panama. The agreement, according to sources familiar with negotiations, provided for the payment of $4 million dollars per year over eight years. (See Comments)
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Still Investigating Ernesto Perez Balladares for Money Laundering

CorruptionTVN Noticias - Panama's Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime continues to work to determine if the alleged crime of money laundering is linked to the former president Ernesto Perez Balladares. Although the former president's lawyers filed a request before the 9th Court requesting that the investigation be closed, organized crime prosecutor Jose Ayú Prado said the investigations must continue because there is sufficient evidence to determine that money laundering did occur, but that so far no one has been indicted. The prosecutor is still waiting for a final report from the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF), a unit that analyzes the movements of money through the bank accounts of the companies linked to the former president, specifically Shelf Holding Company Inc. At the time, the former president described the investigation as "absurd."
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MEF Files Criminal Complaint For Illegal Dumping

Corruption By Denise Lara for Telemetro - MEF officials say the damage is much larger than originally thought, because the pollution has been seeping in the surrounding areas. A criminal complaint for crimes against the environment and the usurpation of public property was filed by the Administrative Unit of Reverted Property of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in the case of contamination in Corozal. According to the MEF, the body responsible for administering the State-owned land, the damage could reach $10 million dollars, taking into account the value of the land. It is located on parcels A, C and adjoining easements, covering five hectares. According to a report of UABR, contamination has occurred "continuously".
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Report Puts Attorney General's Position At Risk

Corruption By Juan Manuel Díaz C. for the Panama America - Panama's Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez, runs the risk of being removed from office, thanks to a complaint filed against her by former prosecutor Arquímedes Sáez, said former Supreme Court Magistrate Edgardo Molino Mola. According to Mola, Article 2466 of the Judicial Code states that when the crime carries with it possible imprisonment then the civil servant may be removed from office, as is the case with the complaint filed by Sáez. However, Mola said the chances of this happening are remote because it would be necessary to prove Gomez acted acted willfully when ordering the wiretapping. "Unconstitutional acts are not defined as a crime under the Penal Code," he said. However, he said it will be necessary to wait to see what the Prosecutor in Charge of Administration, Nelson Rojas, decides to do. Meanwhile, the former prosecutor Archimedes Sáez explained that after his complaint was admitted by the Prosecutor for Administration, the procedure would be to call Attorney General Gomez in to be interrogated. Yesterday it was learned the Attorney General filed a notice detailing a series of irregularities in the admission of the complaint filed against her. (See Comments)
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Prosecutor Searches ATTT Offices in Taxi Permit Scandal

CorruptionBy JOSÉ OTERO and MÓNICA PALM for La Prensa - Documents relating to the alleged illegal issuance of temporary operating permits for taxis and buses, issued by the management of the Transit Authority and Land Transport (ATTT), were found in the higher office of that entity. This was announced by the Second Anti Corruption Prosecutor, Ramses Barrera, who yesterday conducted an inspection of the ATTT files as part of the criminal investigations being carried out by this case. Now they will analyze those documents to determine whether they met the rules governing the institution or whether they violated the law. Similarly, Barrera noted he would review the minutes of the Board of Directors of the ATTT, to see if there was any discussion of the sale of temporary operating permits. Barrera acted after the former director of the ATTT Sandra Escorcia report on the situation. Yesterday, Escorcia told La Prensa the details of some of those anomalies. The current leaders of the Authority, however, defend the legality of the permits. The managing director of the ATTT, Jorge R. Fabrega said he did not know anything about the inspections being carried out by the prosecutor. "I just received him and put him into contact with the legal staff of the institution," he said. Fabrega reiterated what has already been reported by the Executive: an interim committee of inquiry concluded there were no irregularities. As a result, the deputy director of the ATTT, who had been separated from his position, was reinstated in office. Moreno is a principal member of the National Political Committee of the ruling Democratic Change party.
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Petition for Habeas Corpus Presented On Behalf of Salvador Rodriguez

Corruption La Estrella - Victor Almengor, the lawyer for former Education Minister Salvador Rodríguez, filed a writ of habeas corpus before the Supreme Court, to avoid the possibility of a arrest warrant being issued against his client. According to Rodriguez's attorney, the Public Ministry proceeding to carrying out preventative detentions that are not in accordance with due process, and therefore for them it is necessary to act in anticipation - that at any given time the Public Ministry might order the arrest of the former minister Rodriguez; and even more so when the investigations that are being carried out do not merit preventative detention, taking into account the crimes and their corresponding penalties that apply. The The precedent of the case of former Minister Belgis Castro, also from the education portfolio, has forced them to act with foresight. (See Comments)
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"They Want To Put Me and Torrijos In Prison" - Perez Balladares

Corruption By Arnulfo Barroso W. for the Panama America - Former Panamanian President Ernesto Pérez Balladares said he does not doubt the veracity of the complaint made by Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez who said she is receiving political pressure to use the Public Ministry for political persecution. Gomez told the National Assembly on Monday that there is a systematic campaign to remove her from office, because she refuses to imprison former presidents without evidence or scientific proof. "I know from different sources there has been direct intervention by the executive (Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli) and even pressure to "arrest former President Perez Balladares or Former President Torrijos," Perez Balladares told Panama America. The Attorney General said she has received political requirements and that she cannot be "naive", so the only thing she can do is to "prepare for what's coming." Meanwhile Perez Balladares said he has reports of "political pressure" from the Executive against the Attorney General and prosecutors "which I will denounce in time." He added "it's obvious there is a wish to push her (Gomez) aside, in order to replace her with someone more 'manageable' for the Executive." Perez Balladares said that nonetheless they want to build a case against him and for this they will use the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF), an agency of the Ministry of the Presidency, "breaking all the laws that govern ..." . The UAF opened an investigation into alleged money laundering against the company Shelf, in which Perez Balladares has signature authority, and forwarded the report to the Attorney General Gomez. Subsequently Panama's Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime, Jose Ayú Prado, said the figure of Perez Balladares does not appear in the report. The former president stressed that in the UAF investigations corporations are involved, of which he is neither a director or a legal representative. He charged that the Government is also using the Department of Revenue, assuming that "we are like some of them who evade taxes." (See Comments)
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Belgis Castro Now In the El Renacer Prison

CorruptionBy Manuel Vega Loo for La Prensa - At 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, former Education Minister Belgis Castro was transferred to the El Renacer prison on order of the Director of the National Penitentiary System, Diomedes Kaa. Castro, who was guarded by four officers of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), was wearing the same clothes as last night when he was arrested for violating house arrest. Some of Castro's relatives were in the vicinity of the DIJ, but they declined to make any statements to the media. No members of the Partido Revolucionario Democratico were there, even though until just recently Belgis Castro was a member of the party's National Executive Committee (CEN). Carlos Carrillo, Castro's attorney, told La Prensa that in the coming hours he would file a new motion to have his client released. Carrillo said Castro is being investigated for a crime that does not warrant preventative detention. (With details from William Sala).
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