Thursday 15th June 2023.

June 14, 2023


The Cabinet Council, in its session on Wednesday, approved the new State contract with Minera Panama.

In this way, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro Boyd, was authorized to sign the new contract with said company on behalf of the Panamanian State, which was under citizen scrutiny from March 24 to April 22.

Minister Alfaro Boyd, during his speech at the session, assured that “there is no doubt that this contract is a historic triumph for Panama. It is dramatically better in every aspect than Contract-Law No. 9 of 1997 ensuring a guaranteed minimum payment of $375 million to the State, which translates into fair compensation for the natural resources of the Panamanian people”.

The new contract with the company Minera Panamá SA establishes a royalty of 12% to 16% of gross profit and also contemplates significant improvements in labor and environmental matters for the State, highlighted the Presidency of the Republic, in a statement.

The head of Commerce and Industries highlighted that as a result of the public consultation carried out, the district of La Pintada was included in the contract as a beneficiary of the trust, in addition to Donoso and Omar Torrijos, and the form of appointment of directors and the duration of the period were modified thereof. The directors will be the elected representatives of the area and State ministers, detailed the official statement.

After the approval of the contract by the Cabinet, the document will be signed in the coming days by Minister Alfaro Boyd and the legal representative of Minera Panama, Manuel Aizpurúa.

The contract will be sent to the Comptroller General of the Republic for endorsement and will later be presented to the National Assembly for its due approval. If the contract law is approved, it will be presented to the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, for his sanction and promulgation of the law in the Official Gazette .

The Supreme Court of Justice did not admit an appeal presented by the anti-corruption prosecutor Edwin Guardia , against the decision of the Superior Court of Settlement of Criminal Cases to declare the nullity of the process followed by 17 people, for the alleged commission of the embezzlement to the detriment of the Program Ayuda Nacional (PAN), through the purchase of school backpacks.

In a ruling dated May 23 and under the presentation of magistrate Cecilio Cedalise , the Court decided not to admit the protection of guarantees presented by the prosecutor Guardia, after considering that the plenary session is not a reviewing instance nor is it a third instance to resolve substantive issues within a process. Nor is it a means of challenging to determine whether the defendant authority (in this case, the Superior Court of Settlement) correctly interpreted the law.

Previously, on February 13, 2023, the Superior Settlement Court revoked the decision of the First Settlement Court for Criminal Cases, which had refused to accept an appeal requesting the annulment of the case.

The prosecution had requested the summons to trial 17 people, including the former Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar; the merchant Mario Martinelli Berrocal; the former director of the PAN, Giácomo Tamburelli, and the former PAN official, Abraham Williams.

Sources from the Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases used as an argument to declare the nullity of the process a ruling from the Court of Accounts in which it was determined that there was no patrimonial injury to the detriment of State funds.

For his part, Franklin Amaya, lawyer for Poullet Morales , assured that with the Court’s decision the case of the backpacks is closed. The investigation began on September 5, 2014, following a television report that reported irregularities in the acquisition of school backpacks for an amount of $12 million.

The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime apprehended this Wednesday, a person allegedly linked to a crime against the administration of justice, to the detriment of a magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice.

In a message published on his Twitter account, the Public Ministry announced that prosecutors carried out a procedure in a furniture store in Calidonia, near the headquarters of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation.

Sources linked to the investigation revealed that it is a series of videos created to intimidate a magistrate, for a case that is pending in the Supreme Court of Justice. The name of this magistrate has not been communicated, but it would be Olmedo Arrocha .

La Prensa was able to confirm that the person arrested is Gustavo Vásquez , who introduces himself as manager of Mueblería La Unión and Financiera Única .

Gustavo Vásquez is the counterpart in a civil lawsuit promoted for years by Emilia Estévez de Vásquez for the inheritance of her husband, a Spanish businessman who died without leaving a will in 1985. Vásquez Estévez owned 50% of the furniture store and the financial cmpany; the other half belongs to Luis Vásquez, Gustavo’s father.

This lawsuit dates back to 2005 and was originally in the office of magistrate Oydén Ortega . When Ortega’s term expired, he was replaced by Olmedo Arrocha.

The multi million parallel decentralization funds granted to local governments, mainly controlled by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), continue to generate repudiation. This time, the pre-candidate for the presidency by free application Eduardo Quirós, asked the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to suspend these transfers.

In a letter dated last Tuesday, June 13, Quirós asked Minister Héctor Alexander to suspend said funds until the Comptroller General of the Republic confirms their legality and certifies that they are regulated and supervised. The candidate for the Presidency supported his request in article 41 of the Political Constitution, a rule that deals with the power that citizens have to present complaints and petitions to public servants for reasons of social or private interest.

“There are more than 200 million dollars that they have distributed for clientelism and politicking in the face of so many needs of Panamanians. Therefore, I have acted to prevent this unchecked abuse from continuing.”

Indeed, an investigation by La Prensa revealed that between June 2021 and May 2023, the National Decentralization Authority (AND), an organization headed by Edward Mosley Ibarra, transferred $202 million to 474 community boards, mostly controlled by the PRD. . La Prensa consulted several of the representatives of corregimientos that have received millions, but none supported where the transfers went.

Just like Quirós, other citizens from different sectors of the country have requested the suspension of parallel decentralization, among them is José Ramón Icaza Clement, former president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama. On June 8, Icaza asked President Laurentino Nito Cortizo that “for the health of democracy and respect for institutions, suspend those funds that are causing so much damage to public finances.” He did it through his Twitter account.

From July 26 to 30, version No. 43 of the National Handicrafts Fair will take place at the Atlapa convention center, Panama City.

In this edition, there are 434 artisans who were selected −from different regions of the country− to participate in this activity, as announced by the Ministry of Culture (MiCultura), the entity in charge of the organization.

It should be remembered that through this fair direct sales between exhibitors and consumers are promoted, in addition to promoting Panamanian traditions, culture and identity.

The National Crafts Fair “is a platform, space, commercial showcase that offers various proposals or craft lines, coming from our regional demonstrations, allowing the visitor a direct purchase and interaction with the artisans, its main purpose being to position itself not only by its cultural value but also for the characteristic quality, exposure and production that each piece contains”, said Esther Pérez de Herrera, National Director of Crafts at MiCultura.

This year the activity will pay homage to the “Dances of Corpus Christi”, it has been reported.

The country’s Health teams entered the scene very early this Wednesday, June 14, in the second day of the third regional simulation of disaster response and humanitarian assistance in Panama.

The Amador Causeway sector was the scene of the deployment of the National Emergency Teams to face a disaster.

The actions began with the installation of the so-called campaign hospitals, which are used to provide urgent care to those affected. The personnel of the Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Health proceeded to fulfill their functions in the face of a certain emergency in these temporary facilities.

Meanwhile, Carlos Rumbo, director of the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc), reported that rescue actions are being applied to collapsed structures on Wednesday, after the 7.5-degree earthquake on Tuesday.

For this Wednesday in West Panama, from 8:00 am, action was taken against a biohazard scenario, due to avian flu.



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