Thursday 23rd March 2023.

March 23, 2023


The Attorney General, Javier Caraballo, confirmed on Wednesday, March 22, that the number of doses of fentanyl that disappeared from the Social Security Fund (CSS) amounts to at least 19 thousand ampoules.

Since the beginning of the investigations for this fact it was known, there was a loss of 10 thousand doses of the drug reported, however, Caraballo announced that an audit report reflects that there are at least 19 thousand doses.

Caraballo stressed that on March 6, the proceedings began to be carried out and that it was in November 2022 that the complaint was received regarding the fact that an anesthesiologist had left a bag, in a reception area of the CSS and that this bag when reviewed had 12 ampoules of fentanyl.

“This investigation began in a timely manner because of that fact, because of the 12 ampoules of fentanyl, in the month of November. As a result of this investigation, the Social Security Fund, in coordination with the Public Ministry, initiates an audit and is delivered to the Public Ministry on March 6, which is the one that accounts for the loss of approximately 19,000 doses of fentanyl”.

The prosecutor in charge explained that inspections are made in the warehouse, pharmacy and medical facilities of the Hospital Complex of the CSS.

On the possible link of international organized crime in this case, Caraballo commented that it will go step by step. that they will reconstruct the facts and depending on the evidentiary facts it will be possible to say if there is that participation of these groups.

“The anti-corruption prosecutors are officiating in order to establish the possible patrimonial damage that this fact entails.”

Likewise, he reiterated that they are conducting inspections, interviews and the leadership that are necessary to clarify this case.

The prosecutor of Homicide and Femicide, Rafael Baloyes, said that he will charge the three people apprehended on Wednesday morning by the National Police for their alleged connection with the death of Antonio Javiera Batista, which occurred on March 6 during a brawl on Via Argentina.

Baloyes confirmed the apprehension of three people who allegedly caused blows in various parts of the victim’s body and that could be directly related to his death.

During the investigation, the prosecution analyzed 16 videos obtained from the security cameras of several businesses located in the area where the incident was recorded and in which the apprehended are observed beating the victim.

Regarding a police officer, who was present during the incident and to whom they wanted to assign some kind of responsibility in the events, it was clarified that he was free and that he had tried to stop the fight.

Baloyes explained that the investigation involved multiple steps to establish the possible link of those apprehended in this case.

Through the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Panama issued a global bond in the international market maturing in 2054 for a total amount of $ 1,000 million, with a coupon and yield of 6,853%.

The global bond maturing in 2035 was also reopened for a total amount of $800 million, with a coupon of 6.40% and a yield of 6.161%.

This information was released directly by the Minister of Economy, Héctor Alexander, on Tuesday.

The Cabinet Council had given the green light to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) since last week to issue debt in international markets for an amount of up to $ 2,000 million, according to Cabinet Decree No. 11 of March 14, 2023.

The funds raised in the issuance of securities will be used to finance the country’s budget in fiscal year 2023 and future years. Also to buy, exchange or redeem internal and external debt previously contracted by the Republic of Panama.

The financing needs of the 2023 budget are estimated at $4.153 billion and includes $2.178 billion for the central government’s investment program and the rest for debt repayments.

“The market reaction was positive, as offers of more than $9.500 billion were received and more than 260 investors from North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. This demonstrates the confidence of foreign investors in the country,” the Ministry of Economy and Finance said.

The Ministry of Environment released on Tuesday a diagnosis of how the country’s forests are and how much has been deforested in recent years.

The entity began by indicating that, one year after the launch of the National Forest Restoration Program, 187,657 hectares have been restored, a “key” objective to guide the country to achieve the long-term goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The goal that had been set in the first year was 51,000 hectares.

Of that total, 8,452 hectares were recovered through modalities such as silvopastoral systems, forest plantations and agroforestry. The other part, 179,204, corresponds to hectares recovered from stubble and secondary forests through assisted natural regeneration.

According to Víctor Cadavid, national director of Forestry of the Ministry of Environment, currently the country’s forest cover covers 68% of the territory.

As for deforestation, the statistics of the entity show that the annual deforestation rate between 2000 and 2012 in Panama was 11,415 hectares, while between 2012 and 2022 it went to 3,14 per year.

“The reality of forests in Panama is that since 2019 we have increased forest cover by 3%, but this does not mean that we do not have deforestation, but that it has been reduced,” he said.

In his words, the challenge they must face is how to protect 68% of forest cover nationwide.

“We have also had the support of several strategic partners with whom forest restoration projects have been established at the national level, with emphasis on the modalities of reforestation, assisted natural regeneration and agroforestry,” he said.

According to Cadavid, the province of Panama is one of the most threatened in relation to its forests, which has to do with population growth and the agricultural and livestock frontier in some areas of its peripheries.

In Darien, he indicated that the situation has improved. In fact, in the last decade, in that remote province of the country was where more cases of illegal deforestation were reported, although since 2019 forest exploitation permits were suspended.

A ruling of the First Superior Court Justice did not admit an amparo of constitutional guarantees presented by Aaron Ronny Mizrachi against the decision of a criminal judge to prosecute him along with 35 other people for alleged money laundering in the Odebrecht case.

The court’s ruling, dated March 8 and under the presentation of Judge Melina Robinson, did not accept the action because it considered that the appeal presented by Mizrachi’s defense does not support what are the guarantees that were allegedly violated to Mizrachi.

Robinson’s brief details that although possible violations of norms contained in the Constitution are alleged, Article 85 of the Criminal Code is also cited, so the Court cannot enter to make a review, since it is not a norm of constitutional rank.

Referring to this aspect of the appeal presented by Mizrachi’s defense, he explains that a certain degree of confusion is introduced between the rules that they consider violated by Judge Baloisa Marquínez, of the Third Court Liquidator of Criminal Cases, in her order calling for trial.

It states that it is intended that the court revoke the decision to call for trial, a decision that should be adopted by the court itself and not by a higher instance.

Mizrachi is a signatory and final beneficiary of the company Caribean Holding, which, according to the investigation, was used to transfer large sums of money from bribes from Odebrecht’s Box 2.

In his statement, Mizrachi, who is the brother-in-law of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), said that these funds were “donations” from Odebrecht to the 2009 political campaign. He thought that there was nothing irregular with that money, that he gave everything to his brother-in-law’s campaign and that he never used the money for his personal expenses.

Also through Caribean, Odebrecht made contributions to accounts controlled by Jaime Lasso, to favor the campaign of former President Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019).

Martinelli and Varela will also be prosecuted for Odebrecht bribes.

The associations of poultry farmers and pig farmers urged the government of Laurentino Cortizo to request the revision of the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPC) that the country maintains with the United States.

According to the producers of this sector, after 16 years of signing the agreement “time has shown that practically none of the expectations or promises that were made to us, to counteract our well-founded rejection of this agreement, have come true,” says a statement.

The unions pointed out that producers have not had access to sell their products in the American market, much less to the import volumes that the country ceded to the United States.

“It has been an absolutely unfavorable trade balance for our country,” the producers said.

Carlos Rognoni, director of the Institute of Agricultural Marketing, said that this administration has already raised the request, especially on the issue of four items considered sensitive: rice, pork, chicken and some dairy products.


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