Friday 29th September 2023.

September 28, 2023


The First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases declared the proceedings against former deputy Carlos Tito Afú Decerega time -barred for the alleged commission of the crime of corruption, after he himself publicly acknowledged that he had received bribes to vote in favor of the Multimodal Center law contract . Industrial and Services (Cemis) , at the end of 2001.

valued at $400 million and that would be developed in the province of Colón.

In Edict 1591 posted at the court headquarters, the parties are notified of the decision made by the judge in charge Kerine A. Jaén.

The ruling occurs after on December 2, 2019, the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice declined the process following Afú to the Public Ministry, after he lost his status as a deputy. Afú failed to be re-elected to office in the May election of that year.

The now former magistrate Abel Zamorano , who acted as prosecutor of the case, had requested to issue a dismissal in favor of Afú, after not finding merits to open a criminal case against him.

The scandal arose in January 2002, when Afú, at a press conference, showed a wad of bills that he reported had been given to deputies for the approval of the Cemis contract, a $400 million project in the province of Colón, promoted by the government of the president of that time, Mireya Moscoso.

The 1982 Penal Code , which is applicable in this case, states that the crime of corruption of a public official has a prison sentence of 2 to 4 years; Therefore, the criminal action in this case would be statute-barred after 6 years from the commission of the crime.

In this case, the Court also declared null the investigation of former president and current presidential candidate Martín Torrijos .

Afú also wants to compete in the May 2024 elections, as a candidate for deputy of the 7-1 circuit, for the Democratic Change (CD) party .

Former deputy Mateo Castillero and businessmen Martín Rodín and Stephen Jones , representatives of the San Lorenzo Consortium , which would be the company responsible for the multimodal center, were also investigated here .

The Commerce and Economic Affairs Commission of the National Assembly (AN) suspended the discussion, in the first debate, of bill 1043, on the new contract between the State and Minera Panamá, SA, and recommended to the Executive that the proposal be withdrawn. .

The decision was included in a resolution this Thursday, September 28, proposed by the president of the Commerce Commission, PRD deputy Roberto Ábrego .

In addition to the proponent, deputies Cenobia Vargas, Ariel Alba, Francisco Alemán and Víctor Castillo voted in favor of the proposal. Juan Diego Vásquez, Alaín Cedeño, Nelson Jackson and Elías Vigil went against it.

The refusal of these four deputies to the resolution proposed by Ábrego should not be interpreted as their agreement with project 1043. The four voted against, because they consider that this resolution has no validity, since what corresponded was to submit the proposal to vote and it was stated that it did not have the support to be approved in the first debate.

“The people do not want this contract,” said Deputy Cedeño.

In the legislative session, Ábrego mentioned the three reasons why they propose to the Executive to take their bill: the articles that have to do with the restriction of airspace, the possibility of expropriation and the distribution of the final benefits of the mining concession.

Although she voted in favor of the resolution, Representative Vargas said in the session that she would not have voted in favor of project 1043.

The discussion of this project resumed at 11:15 am this Thursday, after the citizen consultation phase concluded.

In the room were the ministers Federico Alfaro, of Commerce and Industries (Mici), and Milciades Concepción (of the Environment. Ricardo Lombana, presidential candidate for the Other Path Movement, and representatives of several organizations that call for the closure of the mine were also present. and a moratorium.

In this regard, Alfaro expressed his annoyance.

“What they are asking for is the rejection and closure of the mine, putting at risk more than 7 thousand workers, 40 thousand indirect workers, 3% of the national economy and that for us is a worrying and irresponsible position,” Alfaro said.

It must be remembered that on September 19, this legislative commission carried out a visit to the mining concession in Donoso, province of Colón. Previously, deputies held public consultations in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos Herrera, in Colón, and La Pintada, in Coclé.

At the end of August, discussion of bill 1043 began in the National Assembly, amid protests by various organizations in the country that reject mining.

The trial of 25 people (including former presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela ) for alleged money laundering, in the case of Odebrecht bribes , will now take place after the May 2024 elections and the change of government administration.

The Second Liquidation Court of Criminal Cases (in charge of Judge Baloisa Marquínez) announced that the trial will be from July 15 to August 23, 2024. As an alternative date, the judge established the date from September 16 to October 25, 2024.

The decision was adopted by Judge Marquínez after concluding the evaluation of all the evidence that was admitted (or rejected) that will be presented at the trial, and that has been adduced by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the defense attorneys and the private complainant, which in this case is the Panamanian State, represented by the Ministry of Public Security.

This is stated in the Vario Order 162 issued on September 27, 2023, the same day that the trial should have begun, but which had to be postponed the day before, precisely because the judge had not issued the order on the admission of the evidence. .

The document has 484 pages.

In the elections of May 5, 2024, Martinelli (who already has a first-instance sentence of 120 months in prison for money laundering in the New Business case ) aspires to compete as a presidential candidate. Varela, meanwhile, wants to enter the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

In this case, former ministers, figureheads, politicians and others close to power are accused.

Among the evidence admitted by the judge is the sentencing agreement agreed upon by Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares , sons of the former president, in the Eastern District Court of New York . In this agreement, Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique accept the sentence of three years in prison and accept having committed the crime of conspiracy to launder Odebrecht bribes, using the US financial system. Both also confessed that they acted following their father’s orders.

The penalty agreement has been requested through the corresponding channels, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Ministry managed the formal request for the US Department of Justice to issue a certified copy of it, which will be translated into Spanish.

Buyers from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and France participated in the Travel Mart business conference in Panama City, as part of the seventh National Tourism Convention (Conatur) that took place on September 25 to 27.

The appointments projected business worth $35 million in agreements between suppliers and buyers.

Part of the agreements that were made at Travel Mart were with groups of circuits from Monterrey, Mexico, as well as new itineraries from Canada and the United States for the purchase of tourist products and destination packages to Panama.

Ovidio Díaz, president of the Panamanian Chamber of Tourism (Camtur), announced that the National Tourism Convention (Conatur) in 2024 will be held in the province of Chiriquí in the month of September to promote tourism in the interior of the country and publicize the benefits that this province in the western region of Panama offers.

A team of researchers found in Panama the fossil of a turtle that lived 6 million years ago and that contains DNA, which had only been reported before, “in the entire fossil record of vertebrates on the planet”, in the remains of a dinosaur The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) reported this Thursday.

It is a partially preserved shell of a Lepidochelys turtle from the Upper Miocene of Panama, the oldest fossil found of this genus, as described in an 11-page article published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

This remains was found on the Caribbean coast of Panama and studied by a team of paleontologists led by Dr. Edwin Cadena, from the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia, who is an associate researcher at the Smithsonian, whose STRI is located in Panama.


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