Friday 2nd June 2023.

June 1, 2023


The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) admitted an amparo of constitutional guarantees presented by the director of the National Decentralization Authority (AND) , Edward Mosley Ibarra, against the decision of the Administration Attorney to initiate an investigation for the alleged deviations of millions in funds to community boards controlled by members of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) .

In the distribution of files held on May 29, the amparo was left in the office of Judge Ariadne Maribel García Angulo.

The action halts the investigation led by prosecutor Rigoberto González, until the Supreme Court resolves the amparo, explained lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, who filed the complaint for the alleged irregularities in the use of public funds.

In his complaint, Cedeño requested that the conduct of the officials who made the use of said funds viable, which are distributed outside the mechanisms provided in the decentralization law, be investigated.

The distribution of funds coincides with the internal political campaigns of various parties.

Mosley Ibarra points out in the amparo -presented through the lawyer Ángel Álvarez- that the Administration Attorney “lacks the competence to manage or initiate preliminary investigations and demand explanatory reports on complaints and complaints against public officials.”

In his defense, attorney González pointed out that multiple rulings of the Plenary Session and the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court have recognized both the constitutional attribution and the legal attribution that the Administration Attorney’s Office maintains to investigate, in the administrative sphere, officials with command and jurisdiction.

“It is clear that we are not exercising judgment or sanctioning powers, as is attempted to be stated in the document presented [that is, the amparo], since the purpose of the protected Resolution is to clarify the facts and then refer them to the competent authority,” said González.

Last week, Prosecutor González was preparing to start the investigations by requesting the respective “explanatory reports” from the authorities, specifically, from Mosley Ibarra, director of the AND; comptroller Gerardo Solís, and ministers Héctor Alexander (from the Ministry of Economy and Finance) and José Simpson (from the Presidency).

An investigation published by La Prensa revealed that in the last three years, the Decentralization Authority ordered payments of $202.4 million to 475 of the 679 community boards in the country, outside the scheme established by law, with the corregimientos with representatives of the ruling PRD who take most of the money, thus increasing the funds in 2022 and 2023, during campaign times.

Ibarra has refused to report which are the local governments to which resources have been transferred, how many millions there are and what is the criteria for delivering the millions. What is known so far is precisely due to the journalistic investigation of this medium.

In the middle of a rainy morning, dump truck drivers closed several points in the capital city, such as Balboa and Centenario avenues, as well as the Cinta Costera, which caused chaos in vehicular traffic and the subsequent intervention of the Police.

It was reported that the protest allegedly occurred due to claims to the government for an online quotation for the hiring of equipment, carried out by the Urban Home Cleaning Authority (AAUD).

In a statement, the AAUD referred to this act of listing online as part of the restructuring of a new management model. It is specified that this will allow the establishment of schedules and frequencies of waste collection.

The National Police, with Crowd Control agents, reported that they proceeded to clear the road near the vicinity of the Seafood Market. It was reported that some 30 dump trucks were blocking the way to the Cinta Costera and Avenida Balboa.

In addition, the apprehension of 25 drivers was reported, who were placed under the orders of the competent authorities.

The director of the National Police, John Durheim, confirmed that some 25 people were brought before the justice of the peace of the Calidonia corregimiento for these closures.

“We cannot allow a few to affect the free movement of the vast majority, who go to schools, jobs, hospitals and different places,” said Dorheim.

Thousands of drivers were trapped in the roadblock in different sectors. Those who moved to the capital city, from the province of Panama Oeste, could not do so either by the Centennial Bridge or by the Bridge of the Americas. After two hours, vehicular traffic began to slowly return to normal in the sectors most affected by the closures.

In the second half of December 2010, 43.9 million dollars moved from a handful of natural persons, and from more than a dozen legal persons, towards a scheme of opacity, manipulation and deception called New Business .

To make these financial transactions, front men were used, fictitious contracts were created, and a web of bank transactions was created with the intention of buying a communication medium: Editora Panamá América SA (Epasa).

The timing of the transaction was not accidental. That year 2010, the Supreme Court of Justice had bowed to power to oust the then Attorney General of the Nation, Ana Matilde Gómez. The Comptroller General of the Republic was in the hands of what had been an employee of the supermarket chain owned by the then President of the Republic.

The Financial Analysis Unit, which should have detected the suspicious movements of those funds transferred in December 2010, was in the hands of a person, Emma Reyes, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime of embezzlement, on May 16 .

In turn, Ignacio Fábrega, a senior official of the Superintendence of the Stock Market in the government of the main defendant, was sentenced on September 3, 2015 to 5 years in prison for having provided privileged information to the Financial Pacific brokerage house, one of the companies that participated in the New Business basket.

A subordinate of Fábrega, Vernon Ramos, was investigating that brokerage firm when he disappeared on November 15, 2012. Thus, without control institutions and with corrupt or weakened supervisory bodies, the entire country became a business. .

The use of basket companies was repeated in the Blue Apple case and of course in Odebrecht. It is very possible that this successful model of corruption was repeated in other instances, but we will never know, since corrupt businessmen and their facilitators tend to be very discreet.

The parade of high-flying businessmen as collaborators of the prosecution, and that of lawyers, bankers and front men, as part of the defense witnesses, has a strong flavor of “Panama Papers.” The participating banks did not ask enough questions and it seems that everyone was happy with the fact that an overdrawn company one day ended up in the black with more than 30 million dollars in 15 days.

The trial of the New Business scandal gives Panamanian society an image typical of a magnetic resonance, of how business is done in this country. If very powerful businessmen, highly permissive banks and corporate structures designed for opacity are combined, the mix is ​​truly explosive, and in the hands of a corrupt politician they become a weapon of mass destruction of democracy and the rule of law.

Eleven licenses for logging in forests in the Panamanian province of Darién were suspended after verifying the existence of illegal logging inside and outside the areas given in concession, the Ministry of Environment reported Thursday.

This environmental protection measure was ordered by a Guarantee judge after “complaints filed for actions of devastation in the communities of Tamagantí, Papanatí and Cochino in the village of Yape, district of Pinogana”, in Darién, a province on the border with Colombia.

In a tour of these areas, the Ministry of the Environment established “the existence of illegal logging inside and outside the permits granted” in a sector of Pinogana.

A report in this regard was sent to the Deputy Prosecutor for Environmental Crimes, which began a process to determine the commission of the crimes, added the Environmental office in a public statement.

The forest exploitation license is the power that the State grants to individuals or legal entities, so that, at their own risk and expense, they carry out sustainable exploitation of forest resources, including wood, seeds, resins, gums and other non-timber products on land private property, covered with forests.

The one known as the Darién Strait in Panama is one of the five great forests of Central America, together with the Maya forest, which occupies parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize; the Mosquitia in Honduras and Nicaragua; the Indio Maiz-Tortuguero National Park in Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica and Panama.

This forest, which occupies 80% of the surface of the province of Darién, has been affected for years by deforestation due to the extension of the agricultural and livestock frontier and by illegal logging, according to official data.



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