Thursday 16th March 2023.

March 16, 2023


At least 10,<> doses of the drug fentanyl that had been acquired by the Social Security Fund (CSS) disappeared several weeks ago, the entity confirmed.

The institution reported that as soon as it detected the “anomalous situation” in one of its executing units, it immediately “became aware” to the Public Ministry.

To date, the authorities are carrying out the proceedings and “has declared the carpetilla in reserve.”

In a statement, the Public Ministry explained that it keeps open two investigations for this case, for the alleged commission of the crime against the public administration, among other crimes.

The first originates from a complaint filed by the head of security of the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex.

The official said that, on November 9, 2022, it was learned that at the entrance of the Specialized Diagnostic Hospital, at the insured care post, an anesthesiologist left a black plastic case with a transparent lid inside which there were fentanyl ampoules.

The second is by report made by the National Subdirectorate of Audit of Health Services, in which indicated the disappearance of the ampoules of the drug.

Meanwhile, the board of the CSS will ask the director Enrique Lau Cortés for a detailed report of the case.

According to board members, this is not the first time Social Security supplies have been stolen.

Fentanyl is a drug that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States.

By means of a sentencing agreement between the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the technical defence of the doctor Cesar Quintero, accused of the crime of money-laundering, a penalty of 60 months’ imprisonment was imposed.

However, he will not go to prison as he was replaced by community work in a hospital.

This case was followed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) of the United States and allowed the Prosecutor’s Office Against Organized Crime to dismantle a group operating in Chiriquí. The operation was called”Don Quixote”.

According to the investigation, the doctor laundered money through the purchase of cattle and farms.

The sentence agreement was validated by the judge of guarantees of the province of Chiriquí, Saida Romero, in a hearing on March 14, 2023, in the facilities of the Accusatory Criminal System of the province of Chiriquí, through sentence No. 142.

Romero also imposed (as an accessory penalty) a fine of $100,<>, payable in one year.

The agreement stipulated the replacement of sentence for community work at the José Domingo De Obaldía Maternal and Child Hospital.

Prosecutor Octavio Nicolai was present at the hearing and lawyer Alfredo González defended Quintero.

This case arose after an investigation initiated by the FBI last August, which alerted Panamanian authorities that there were people who were engaged in money laundering in Chiriquí.

For example, the purchase of a farm for $ 450,<> and high-end cars, all paid in cash, was reported as suspicious.

Seven people were charged for this reason, five of whom accepted sentencing agreements.

A few days before the expiration of the concession contract with Urbalia, S.A., a company that until now has managed the Cerro Patacón landfill, corregimiento of Ancón, the Urban and Household Cleaning Authority (AAUD) uses the online quotation tool to find a new operator.

According to information that rests on the Panama Compra portal, this exceptional procedure was published on March 9 and interested parties have until tomorrow, Thursday, March 16 to submit their quote.

The terms of reference state that, because said operating contract expires on March 26, 2023, the AAUD is looking for a company to take over the entire site and will be free to make technological adjustments to existing equipment or use new technologies, with prior authorization.

The contract would be for two years and the State agrees to pay the current rate of $11.53, per ton of waste treated. This is an amount similar to that received by Urbalia per ton.

If one takes into account that an average of 2,300 tons of waste enter the landfill per day, the State would be paying during these two years to the selected company about $ 19 million, for two years of service.

Among the requirements established in the specifications are: to have a fire mitigation and prevention plan; Develop and implement a reception plan for solid waste transport vehicles, and ensure security, access controls and landfill signage.

You are also required to submit a management plan for the drainage and leachate plant of the landfill and submit a plan for the use of gases and waste. In addition, the company must submit three letters of reference that accredit the experience in the disposal, management and handling of open-air landfills, equal to or greater than 300 metric tons per day.

The AAUD was asked what will happen while the selection process for the new contractor ends, taking into account that the contract with Urbalia ends on March 26. They responded that the entity will be responsible for the landfill.

Before April 5, high-ranking officials must submit their affidavit of particular interests to the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai).

With the entry into force, last February, of Law 316 of August 18, 2022, which punishes conflict of interest, said officials are obliged to declare their activities paid or not, of a professional, labor, economic, union, personal or charitable nature, before Antai.

Law 316 empowers Antai, in charge of Elsa Fernández, to enforce compliance with the new standard. In this regard, the entity reported that it is in the period of receiving the declarations of conflicts of interest and that the last day to receive them is next April 5.

Even on its website, Antai has published all the steps to file the declaration, which must be notarized. In addition, it allows the declaration form to be downloaded from its website.

At least 106 officials reportedly submitted their statements to Antai. However, the institution’s website shows that the form has been downloaded 2,959 times.

On Monday, March 13, independent deputies Juan Diego Vásquez, Edison Broce, Raúl Fernández and Gabriel Silva appeared at the headquarters of the entity to deliver their respective statements. That is, four deputies of the 71 that make up the plenary of the National Assembly.

Two draft laws that seek to establish a tax on consumption, production, export and import on alcoholic beverages were approved in the Economy and Finance Commission of the National Assembly.

This is draft 58“amending articles of Law 45 of 1995, relating to the tax on consumption, production, export, import of alcoholic beverages, aimed at strengthening the retirement and pension fund of the Social Security Fund and the fight against tuberculosis“, whose proponent is the deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party Roberto Ayala.

The recommended tax in this preliminary draft 58 is $ 0.055 for each alcoholic strength contained in each liter of rectified alcohol, cane brandy, whiskey, or gin of national or imported production.

As for the beer consumption tax, it is proposed of $ 0.19875 for each liter of beer, whether it is of national or imported production.

In addition, the proposal states that 20% of the total collected in the liquor consumption tax will be allocated to the fund of retirees and pensioners of the CSS, and up to 6% of the same tax will be allocated to the fund of the fight against tuberculosis, depending on the needs of the service.

The Line 2 Branch, which leads to Tocumen International Airport, was inaugurated on Wednesday, March 15, by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, in a ceremony attended by executives of the Panama Metro.

In this way they launched the trains that will transport their users to the air terminal. “This new offer makes Panama the first country in Central America and one of the few cities in South America with a connection from downtown to the airport,” said Héctor Ortega, president of the Metro.

This extension connects with the ITSE and Airport Stations. It has an extension of 2 kilometers and will mobilize about 10 thousand passengers daily.

Ortega indicated that it will mainly benefit students of the Specialized Higher Technical Institute and some 8,<> airport workers.

He explained that users will be able to access the Ramal through the connection with the South Corridor Station, from where a train will leave the central platform that will indicate on its screens that it is heading towards the ITSE and Airport Stations. The trains will leave the central platform of the South Corridor Line 2 Station with a frequency of 10 minutes, he added.

The current Metro fare is maintained for those who move at ITSE and Airport Stations: 50 cents Line 2 and 35 cents Line 1.

For his part, Raffoul Arab, manager of Tocumen S.A., indicated that the arrival of the Metro at the airport is “an added value” that offers the opportunity to those passengers in transit who have a few hours in Panama, to “know and live a little with Panamanians in their day to day, visit places of interest, shopping malls and restaurants outside the air terminals.”



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