Monday 11th September 2023.
September 10, 2023
The Panamanian State, through the Ministry of Public Security, civilly sued former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) to demand responsibility for “the material and moral damages caused to the State” by the Odebrecht case, and therefore demands compensation of $159. millions.
According to the lawsuit filed before the Second Liquidation Court for Criminal Cases, headed by Baloisa Marquínez, the government demands from Martinelli $59 million in material damage and another $100 million for moral damage.
The document says that the former president affected the country’s reputation internationally and mentions Panama’s location on the lists of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The news was announced by the digital media Foco , this Sunday, September 10, 2023.
Lawyer Carlos Muñoz, representing the Ministry of Public Security, argued in the lawsuit that between 2010 and 2014 Odebrecht “made corrupt payments” of more than $59 million to officials and intermediaries who worked for the construction company in Panama to, among other things, , obtain public works contracts.
He also argued that between 2009 and 2012, Odebrecht agreed to pay $6 million “to two close relatives of a high-ranking Panamanian government official, in connection with government infrastructure projects, with the understanding that in exchange for payments, the official would ensure the participation of Odebrecht under the contracts managed for infrastructure works (…)”.
Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares , Martinelli’s sons, served time in the United States for laundering at least $28 million in bribes from Odebrecht, through the US financial system. Both confessed to a New York judge that they committed the crime following orders from their father. The two are called to trial for the Blue Apple and Odebrecht cases, where money laundering is being investigated. To avoid the trial of the first case, they strategically swore themselves in as substitute deputies of the Central American Parliament and now their process has gone to the Supreme Court of Justice. While Odebrecht’s trial is scheduled for September 27.
Martinelli, like former president Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) and others, are also called to trial for the Odebrecht case.
Muñoz also supported in the lawsuit that in the agreement between Odebrecht and the United States Department of Justice, aspects linked to the Panamanian State are observed that support the facts of his civil action. The claim is based on the provisions of Law 31 of 1998 and the rules of the Penal Code and Civil Code.
The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama reiterated the call to address the crisis facing the Social Security Fund (CSS).
“In terms of well-being, we need an immediate solution for the Defined Benefit Sub-System of the CSS Disability, Old Age and Death Program, which cannot wait for the next administration,” is part of the message expressed in the Sunday column La Cámara Give your opinion on this Sunday, September 10, 2023.
The organization stated that the current government administration “has wasted valuable time” on this matter. “The dialogue has to begin immediately, there are already several proposals on the table, now it is time to sustain them responsibly and debate them in order to adopt urgent, forceful and real actions,” said the Cciap, chaired by Adolfo Fábrega.
In another part of the column entitled Health and Wellbeing priority of “Country Agenda 2024-2029″ it was emphasized that what was experienced during the covid-19 pandemic and at this time indicates that “it is critical” to establish a work schedule to implement the National Public Comprehensive Health System. The goal must be to achieve a unified system by 2030, he stressed.
“Again, the aspiration of those of us who live in this country is to receive care from a comprehensive system that represents quality and effectiveness of service while promoting preventive health; The key to this is: action. Passivity is not an option because the result is a sick population,” the business union noted.
Like avatars in the metaverse. This is how the journalists who accompanied the president in Mariato must have felt last Friday, when they heard him renege on the project that repeals the 2002 transparency law.
“I, personally, have no problem with the law as it is,” Cortizo said. Well, if you don’t have a problem with that, you hide it very well, because just take a look at the explanatory memorandum of Bill 1031 to see that the person who presented it to the National Assembly was the Minister of the Presidency himself, José Simpson. , last April 27.
But the naivety of this contradiction is understandable: by lying so many times, the boundaries between what is true and what is false surely become blurred. And although what the president said might seem like just another lie, he must have some powerful reason to try to deceive the country with information as easily verifiable as that. Could it be that the president is losing his nerve? Perhaps the reason for this statement lies in the contract agreed upon with the Donoso mining company.
The fiftieth article of that document allows (at the request of the concessionaire) the information on the shareholding composition and the economic group to which the company Minera Panamá (a subsidiary of First Quantum) belongs to be classified as restricted access, “in accordance with the provisions on transparency, access to information and data protection.”
Currently, that would now be impossible, since under Transparency Law 6, officials can only restrict access to information from agents of the State or public institutions. Now they are trying to make a shake in which private information can become “restricted information” and, what is much worse, can be classified as such at the behest of a company.
How will we know if any politician or former official has become a shareholder in the mining company? In addition, it has already been said that there are at least three foreign states that would have equity participation in First Quantum: China, South Korea and Singapore. Marcel Salamín, who represented the State in the negotiating commission on this contract and resigned shortly after, said on the Omega Stereo program En perspective that only “China has 39.99% of the share package of First Quantum… The three States together have the majority of the share package.” This would clash head-on with what the Constitution and the Mineral Resources Code dictate .
On the other hand, while Law 23 of 2015 (on the prevention of money laundering) states that companies that trade precious metals are non-financial obligated subjects – and, therefore, must disclose everything about everything -, a mining company presumably controlled by States Foreigners are given a legal mask to protect them from the inquisitive eyes of citizens.
It seems that all this controversy is not limited exclusively to a mining contract: it is about the sale of the country. And we have been talking about Buneau-Varilla for more than a century. Are we going to spend another century lamenting, this time over spilled (condensed) milk?
So it is this double standard where the modification to the transparency law fits. They have to demolish it, because some provisions of the contract with the mining company are conditioned to the content of Law 6 of 2002. Are the shareholders of the mine more important than 4.1 million Panamanians? I hope this story does not end in a grammatical error and we are talking about “copper” and not “cobré”.
The Autonomous University of Chiriquí (Unachi) grants appointments as full-time professors to those who supposedly have short-term master’s degrees and doctorates that are issued by a house of higher education that is not accredited by any recognized agency in the United States.
The above was announced by the independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez , on September 5, when the rector Etelvina de Bonagas went to the Budget Commission of the National Assembly, to support her budget for the year 2024.
Vásquez asked the rector how many teachers went from working part-time to full-time. Of that number, how many are graduates of the American Andragogy University ?
“Very good question, but first I want to say that all state universities have different laws and what you are telling me about degrees is true,” the rector responded.
American Andragogy University is a study center with offices in Hawaii , United States, and that promotes itself as an “ online university ”, that is, it offers distance or virtual study programs.
Vásquez questioned that the aforementioned university does not have any accreditation to support it. In fact, the university itself clarifies on its website that “it is not accredited” by any agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education, because it uses a non-traditional study method.
The independent deputy stressed that, for a professor, having a doctorate allows him to achieve a full-time appointment more quickly. Therefore, Vásquez says that what Unachi does encourages unfair competition. He even cited as an example what happens at the University of Panama, where its professors only recognize those doctorates that involve at least two years of study.
“There is no serious doctorate in life that lasts six months and you are giving value to that degree, which has no value in the United States and which is generating unfair competition among your own teachers,” he pointed out.
The rector indicated that each Unachi academic unit has its commissions to evaluate these titles and that she is the last one to receive the documents to approve any appointment. However, she promised that she would attend to the matter, although she did not specify how or when.
“They are going to take action on this matter,” she added.
A full-time teacher has a better salary than a part-time one. And even more so if you have a “doctorate”.
Vásquez reproaches that Unachi would be paying high salaries to teachers who do not meet the profile.