Thursday 6th July 2023.

July 5, 2023


The Supreme Court of Justice must decide on the legality or not of Resolution 35 of September 15, 2022 , in which the Budget Commission of the National Assembly approved transfers and credits for $7.5 million in favor of the National Decentralization Authority ( AND) .

The contentious administrative claim for annulment was presented this Wednesday, July 5, by the lawyer Luisa Pilar Arauz Arredondo , on behalf of the independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez , member of the Budget Commission. As a defendant is the PRD deputy Benicio Robinson , president of the aforementioned commission until June 30.

Vásquez has said that although the resolution mentions that the money in favor of the AND was approved in the session of the Budget Committee held on September 15, that day no one from that institution came to support the additional credit and the transfer of departure, as required by law.

There is also no record of the approval of the credit and the transfer in the minutes of the Budget Committee corresponding to that day or in the press release that the Assembly posted on its website.

“The discussion of this departure transfer and additional credit was never on the agenda. Neither in the original approved nor was the order for its discussion altered, therefore, without discussion and voting there can be no resolution, much less transfer,” Vásquez said this Wednesday, when presenting the lawsuit.

“They did what they wanted, outside the law, to give funds in an opaque and non-transparent way to the National Decentralization Authority,” adding that this money was surely already spent, since it corresponds to the budget for the past year.

“The sad thing is that we have been able to present this act [the lawsuit] almost a year later, because this is the time when the Budget Commission delivers the documents and after a fight,” he remarked.

During the period of incidents in the National Assembly, the deputy Génesis Arjona, from Cambio Democrático (CD) , questioned the Minister of Public Works (MOP), Rafael Sabonge , about the stoppage of the construction project of a road in North Panama whose cost is $6 million.

Arjona refers to the road that would connect the district of Caimitillo with the Panama Norte road, better known as the Corridor of the Poor , a work that aims to expedite transit through that area in the north of the city.

The residents of San Lorenzo, Colinas de Las Cumbres, Cumbre Azul and El Chungal would be the beneficiaries. But, the work “is completely abandoned,” said the deputy. “This minister should have resigned a long time ago,” she assured, after saying that the city’s streets are still full of holes and the millionaire transfers of items that are made to the ministry are not reflected in the projects.

The road that will connect Caimitillo with the new Panama Norte road is about 6 kilometers long. It was on January 20, 2022 that Sabonge gave the first shoveling to this project.

This highway, which runs through a semi-wooded area, began to be built of fast track portland cement concrete. The person in charge of the project was the contractor Centro Equipo SA

The work advanced about 3 kilometers, but they did not continue. It was abandoned. From the MOP they informed that they would be requesting funds for this work.

State security agencies are carrying out an investigation into the confessions of a driver of the head of the General Directorate of Revenues (DGI) , Publio De Gracia , who apparently been approached by former President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal , in order to obtain information about investigations carried out on companies linked to the former president, for alleged tax evasion.

This is Rafael Venicio Guerrero , a DGI driver assigned to De Gracia’s office, who -according to his testimony- was contacted by Tomás Martinelli , nephew of the former president and linked to Importadora Ricamar, SA (Irisa) , owner of the Super chain 99. Tomás Martinelli is also a member of the Tribunal de Honor y Disciplinary de Realizando Metas, the party founded and chaired by his uncle Ricardo.

The information was confirmed by De Gracia in an interview with La Prensa, who was very cautious in his statements, precisely so as not to compromise the investigation for alleged tax fraud that is carried out against companies linked to the former president. Later, the director expanded on these explanations in a tweet.

De Gracia stressed that he left the issue in the hands of the security agencies, as soon as he found out what had happened with his driver.

De Gracia announced that he is collaborating with foreign authorities in various investigations into tax fraud, so he decided to give priority to his local investigations on this issue, but informing them of what happened.

The director of the DGI explained that his driver told him about two months ago that he was approached by Tomás Martinelli and taken to an office in Monte Oscuro , which is now believed to be the main headquarters of Super 99, although De Gracia said he is unaware exactly where they took him.

According to the driver’s version, at that meeting he received an offer of “thousands of dollars” in exchange for information about the proceedings being carried out by his boss. According to him, the former president himself participated in that meeting.

Other sources consulted by La Prensa said that the State security agencies asked the driver a series of questions about the events narrated and that he answered them all. On this subject of the meeting, De Gracia said he did not know about it, in order not to cloud the investigation into tax fraud.

The Italian Francesco Gligora , detained at the Tocumen International Airport from Madrid, Spain, was extradited to Italy for allegedly being linked to a mafia organization in his country dedicated to drug trafficking from South America and arms from Pakistan.

Sources linked to the investigations reported that Gligora entered Panama on April 4 and tried to leave the country on July 2, when he was intercepted by National Police agents, after verifying that he had a red alert from Interpol for the crime of association. illicit trafficking of arms and drugs.

Gilgora is related to a drug shipment sent to Europe in a container carrying coffee, however, the authorities had set up an international monitoring and surveillance operation in which those responsible for this event could be located.

The detainee is an alleged member of the Calabrian mafia that operates in Sicily, Italy, and has ramifications in several European countries.

The Panamanian Rhythms and Roots Folk Ballet , which represents Panama at the International Folk Contest Festival Saulės Žiedas, in Lithuania , won third place in the category of best folk choreography. The activity takes place in the city of Šiauliai.

In addition to the host country and Panama, representations from Sweden, Poland, Spain, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Hungary participated in this category.

In the coming days, the Panamanian Rhythms and Roots Folkloric Ballet, under the direction of Edgar Alexis Villaverde, will participate in other categories of this festival, which runs until July 9.

From there they will travel to Poland, where they were also invited to another artistic festival.

The Prime Minister of South Korea, Han Duck-soo, accompanied by a large delegation, landed in Panama on the afternoon of this Wednesday, July 5, to begin an official tour of the country.

He was received by the minister in charge, Vladimir Franco, at the Panama Pacifico International Airport.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the official mission of the Korean Prime Minister includes a meeting with the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , with the aim of “strengthening the common agenda in diplomatic, commercial and cultural matters.”

Duck-soo and his delegation plan to participate in an extended meeting with the ministers Federico Alfaro Boyd, of Commerce and Industries; Vladimir Franco, Minister in charge of Foreign Relations; José Rojas Pardini, from Private Investment; Saleh Asvat, Chief of Staff and National Secretary of the Public Private Association; Jorge Almengor, Vice Minister of Economy; and Isbeth Quiel Murcia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge.

They will also visit the Panama Canal, the works of the third line of the Metro and the Concrete Company in Vacamonte, where Korean companies participate.

It is the first official visit by a high-level Korean official to Panama in thirteen years, the Foreign Ministry said. The previous visit was by then South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in 2010.


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