Monday 15th April 2024.

April 14, 2024


Last Tuesday, April 9, La Prensa published a list of all those who benefited from financial aid from Ifarhu between July 7, 2019 and May 24, 2023.

Although the list reveals 2,114 names that received financial aid, the Comptroller General’s Office still keeps the names of more than two thousand beneficiaries under wraps.

In that sense, Adolfo Fábrega, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap), emphasized in the text of the Chamber of Opinion that “in this way, the impudence and impunity of those who have the mandate are exposed. of managing the resources of the State” and “the moral corrosion of a group of people who take advantage of their influences and connections to assault the public treasury.”

Fábrega also questioned the lack of transparency of the Comptroller General of the Republic, preferring to hide the names of the beneficiaries of economic aid, instead of supervising and controlling the use of public funds.

“Equally serious is the fact that the Comptroller General of the Republic, instead of enforcing the obligations that the Constitution imposes on him to supervise and control the use of public funds, is the protagonist of the lack of transparency when endorsing a large amount of Economic Aid. Not being enough, hiding the beneficiaries of thousands of these. There is no legal or moral justification for a public official of such magnitude to justify his complicity due to the obvious failure to fulfill his duties.”

The president of the Cciap also reveals that they are studying the legal elements that allow them to report to the Public Ministry everything related to economic aid, since they consider that the way in which these so-called aids have been used does not allow them to be simple spectators and emphasize that those who received public money without need, “have to return it or face the consequences.”

According to the Cciap, in this way it is evident that the control and supervision mechanisms of State resources will be as effective as the will of those who implement them.

Through the Sunday column “La Cámara Opina”, the organization demands transparency, justice and responsibility in the management of public funds and called on the presidential candidates to participate in the last presidential debate next Wednesday, April 17, 2024. at the Anayansi Theater of the Atlapa Convention Center, commit to concrete actions such as the implementation of the administrative career and the digitalization of processes for the management of public funds.

The National Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) and the Comptroller General of the Republic have ignored warnings about their obligation to provide all information about the operation and beneficiaries of

This Friday, April 12, Comptroller Gerardo Solís assumed responsibility for not publishing the names of the beneficiaries of financial aid on the entity’s website. The decision – according to him – is supported by several rulings of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), including one of March 13, 2019, which would mention that the comptroller has the “discretionary power” to declare as reserved information that he considers to be confidential. of a confidential nature.

Solís, in an interview on Telemetro Reporta , warned that this veil will remain until his term ends, on December 31, 2024, although he acknowledged that the next comptroller could declassify the information.

“It is total discretion. The Court has said, in the ruling of March 13, 2019, during the administration of the comptroller [Federico] Humbert, that it is the comptroller’s discretion to maintain confidential information. So another comptroller can come and decide that he declassifies the information and makes it public,” he remarked.

“The Personal Data Protection Law itself [Law 81 of 2019] establishes the exception that data can be processed for the benefit of the public interest and accountability for the use of public funds. “It misrepresents compliance with the law under the unsustainable argument of discrimination,” the Foundation maintains in a press release.

El Ifarhu and its director have remained silent since La Prensa disclosed the database. The Minister of Education, Maruja de Villalobos, who chairs the National Council of Ifarhu, has also not said anything.

Once upon a time there was a town in Colón with many millions of dollars. His highest authority, a deputy with multiple contacts in the palace, managed to get his community board to be given $14.1 million. However, in almost five years, despite the multiple needs, the town has not seen any work. The reason? Nobody asked for anything.

It seems like a Sunday story, but no. In the district of Barrio Norte, Colón, the local government that received $14.1 million from parallel decentralization , according to its representative, has not done any work from 2019 to 2024. It states that the community did not request them.

This was what Javier Lynch , representative of the district of Barrio Norte, answered in a letter sent to lawyer Anthony Barrier Vernon , who on March 6 of this year presented him with a request for information to explain how they used the funds granted by the National Decentralization Authority (AND) through the Investment Program for Public Works and Municipal Services and the Real Estate Tax, as well as the list of works executed so far, among others.

“I came across the great surprise that the representative told me that in the district of Barrio Norte between 2019 and 2024 no works were done because the community, in consensus, stated that they did not need them,” Barrier explained to La Prensa . Barrio Norte is in the ranking of the community boards in the country that received the most millions from parallel decentralization, transfers that were made outside of what the decentralization law dictates. Between June 2021 and May 4, 2023, that community, in effect, received $14.1 million, according to an investigation by this medium.

Lynch is the person who, on paper, is responsible for this community board, but the person in charge is the PRD deputy Jairo Bolota Salaza , a politician who in the 2019 elections, in addition to being elected deputy of Colón, was also re-elected as a representative. of Barrio Norte township. But since the law only allows him to hold one of the two positions, he appointed his local government deputy (Lynch).

So where did the money go? The community board gave Barrier a list of alleged expenses. “When I review that, I realize that the community board spent all its money on funeral expenses, paying a lot of salaries for a lot of people (…),” said Barrier, candidate for district representative of Barrio. North for the Other Path Movement (MOCA).

In the list, a 33-page document, as Barrier says, there are payroll expenses, multiple payments for different figures for supposed funeral expenses: 1,900, 1,950, 1,975, 1,800, etc. Purchases of glasses with various amounts were also reported: $304.95, $100, $325, and so on.

Likewise, expenses are recorded on snacks, the purchase of construction materials, payments for medical examinations, advertising, donation of stoves, purchase of mattresses, purchase of food for events, among others. “They didn’t even tell me how much money they gave them,” Barrier said.

According to the lawyer, they (the community board) have never accepted that they received $14.1 million from the parallel decentralization.

The personnel of the Panama Fire Department (CBP) continued work on Isla Colón, province of Bocas del Toro , for the second consecutive day today, Sunday, after a fire affected several commercial premises.

The fire started in the early hours of Saturday on the third street of Isla Colón and was extinguished by firefighters, with the support of tank cars from the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (Idaan), private companies and firefighters from the Isla Colón Airport with the Servo Command car, the CBP reported.

During this Sunday, cleaning and investigation tasks have been carried out in the affected area. In fact, firefighters from the capital city traveled to the area to collaborate in the investigations.

During the extinguishing of the fire, two firefighters were injured and were treated at a local health center.

While merchants in the area expressed their regret at the loss of between 40 and 50 jobs, as well as the lack of investment in the security of Isla Colón, considered an important tourist destination.

Residents also highlighted the scarcity of water in the area and demanded a continuous supply 24 hours a day.

The Brazilian federal magistrate José Antonio Dias Toffoli continues to annul evidence provided in that country by the Odebrecht informers , against the main defendants in Panama .

In addition to doing so at the request of former president Ricardo Martinelli and his friend Aurora Mudaras, he now favored one of his sons – Luis Enrique Quique Martinelli Linares – and also his former vice president and subsequent president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019). .

The same request, with the same purpose, was also made by another son of Martinelli involved in the Odebrecht case, Ricardo Alberto Rica Martinelli Linares . On this request, Dias Toffoli has not yet commented.

Riccardo Francolini and Juan Antonio Niño were the first to benefit from the decisions of Dias Toffoli, who seems to have taken on the task, unilaterally, of annulling the evidence against anyone who asks him to do so, no matter who. be.

The new annulment – ​​in favor of Quique Martinelli – was reported by the digital newspaper Metrópoles , in its digital edition, this Friday, April 12 .

Dias Toffoli also prohibited Odebrecht’s award-winning informers from testifying from Brazil – via videoconference – as witnesses for the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Panama.

The magistrate ordered the Brazilian Ministry of Justice to inform the Panamanian government of his decision.

Dias Toffoli’s decisions contrast with the opinion of US officials.

“[Ricardo] Martinelli accepted bribes in exchange for improperly awarding government contracts during his term as president,” making “Martinelli and members of his immediate family ineligible to enter the United States,” the Secretary of State said in a statement. Antony Blinken , released by the North American embassy in Panama, in January 2023.

The trial in Panama is scheduled between November 12 and December 19 of this year. As an alternative date, the trial would be held between January 20 and February 28, 2025.


More articles