Tuesday 16th January 2024.
January 15, 2024
While the Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa) is investigated for “non-compliance” with the Transparency law, the general manager of the entity, Carlos Mosquera, responds evasively about the lack of information on its payroll.
A verification by La Prensa revealed that in the Etesa return, when the name of the employee appears, then the position he or she holds does not appear or vice versa. As if that were not enough, Etesa sends his return to the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai), with less information. The names or identification numbers of those hired do not appear, only positions – without the names – with the amount of salary and the start date of management altered.
Given these irregularities, the director of Access to Information, Juan Pablo Rodríguez, confirmed that he initiated an administrative process against Etesa since last September for not complying with article 11 of the Transparency Law , which dictates the parameters that entities must comply with to publish this type of listing.
The article warns that the information relating to the “hiring and appointment of officials, payrolls, representation expenses… […] of officials of any level and/or of “other persons who perform public functions.”
“Etesa does not publish the complete return. We [Antai] contacted them to complete all the fields on the form and they [Etesa] responded to us from the point of view of their Legal Advisory [department] and that is why we opened an administrative process for non-compliance,” he highlighted. Rodríguez, who reiterated that Antai only publishes what each entity provides.
Mosquera justifies the lack of information in custom: “We have always published the form that way. What happens is that they don’t understand us . ”
Whose salaries correspond? It seems like a riddle, La Prensa questioned . Mosquera became uncomfortable: “ If I had known it was you, I would not answer [the call] because you ask me about the form that we have always published like this, for 25 years and we consider that we are complying with transparency… You complain to Antai” , he washed his hands
And to continue defending himself, he attacked: “Go and publish the names [of the employees] of Ensa. “What happens is that we [at Etesa] are hybrids.”
La Prensa searched for Ensa’s payroll and, although it is outdated since July 2022, it does disclose the names, ID numbers and salary of each employee.
The alternate deputy of the PRD member Raúl Pineda, Alexis Ayala, simultaneously receives a salary of more than 5 thousand dollars in the Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa), and actively participates in the National Assembly and in political events of his principal.
Last December 22, in the absence of Pineda in the legislative Budget commission, Ayala assumed his role as main deputy during the discussion of the general state budget for 2024. On that day, he served as secretary of the Budget commission, chaired by his co-partisan, Congressman Benicio Robinson.
This would not be the first time that Ayala has occupied the seat. For example, on October 10, Pineda authorized Ayala, as recorded in the minutes of the plenary session, to be part of an “investigation commission to determine the reasons for the poor quality of the public electricity distribution service.”
Ayala was appointed on July 27, 2019 at Etesa as Director of Human Resources by the entity’s general manager, Carlos Mosquera. Days before, he had been sworn in as Pineda’s substitute deputy to participate in the Assembly.
Raúl Pineda sees no problem with his substitute being an Etesa employee, participating in the Assembly and accompanying him in political activities. He affirms that “enabling the substitute” is normal, and although he does not remember the reasons for his absence, he maintains that Ayala does not receive payment for his substitute in the Assembly, since he has a job at Etesa.
Arnaldo Acevedo Delgado , candidate for representative of the town of Peña Blanca, a town in the district of Las Tablas, in the province of Los Santos, for the ruling Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena) is one of those arrested in the middle of Operation Alpes, with in which a network allegedly dedicated to drug trafficking was dismantled.
During a guarantee hearing that concluded yesterday Sunday at the headquarters of the Las Tablas Accusatory Penal System, Judge Tamara Alvarado declared the detention of 63 people legal and also validated raids that were important for the operation.
Acevedo was arrested last Thursday at the Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, when he entered the country from Medellín, Colombia.
According to the authorities in charge of the investigation, Acevedo Delgado is considered, along with Carlos Calitín Mosquera , one of the leaders of the criminal network that operated on the coasts of the provinces of Herrera, Los Santos, Veraguas and Coclé.
Calitín Mosquera is an old acquaintance in the world of crime. He is linked to the Calor Calor gang and served a sentence for drug trafficking in the Punta Coco prison , located on Isla del Rey, in the Las Perlas archipelago.
An official from the National Aeronaval Service (Senan), one from the National Border Service and another from the National Police are also detained in this case.
During the raids led by the Drug Prosecutor’s Office, Senan and the National Police, $1.9 million in cash, 45 thousand euros, six tons of drugs, 22 vehicles, several firearms, 400 ammunition and beach houses owned by citizens were seized. Colombians, who used them for meetings and parties.
The 22 vehicles are valued at $1.7 million. The investigation, which began in mid-2022, was carried out by the Police Sensitive Unit, in charge of collecting surveillance, monitoring, and location of real estate and vehicles used by this criminal network.
Río Indio is the area most studied and suggested by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to build reservoirs and a new water reservoir for the transit of ships and have availability for human consumption.
And that is also where representative Yanibel Ábrego acquired land from the State, paying cents (or less) for each square meter.
In July 2012, Ábrego paid $60 for 9.4 hectares, that is, less than $6.50 per hectare or thousandths of a cent per square meter . The property borders the Indio River and the Indio River street of Los Chorros de Jordanal , in Cirí Grande, Capira . That was the first time. In the second, in March 2023, he obtained an additional 18.4 hectares, supposedly to be used for “agricultural activities”, delivered to Ábrego by the National Land Administration Authority (Anati) , at a cost of $120, that is, less than a cent per square meter, arguing a “social function.”
The lands acquired by the representative are a few meters from the Indio River, considered of great importance, not only for the farmers and coffee growers in the area, but also for the ACP.
The cents that the representative paid for national lands contrast with the $22.20 per square meter that the ACP paid for national lands in Western Panama, on the banks of the Canal. In total, the ACP disbursed $550 million to the State for 2,361 hectares, land that the country needs to protect water sources and conserve the environment . How much would the ACP save if it bought the land at the price Ábrego pays for his?
The property titled in favor of Ábrego on the Indio de Los Chorros River is located in the upper section of the river basin where the ACP carried out, among other things, studies of its flora, according to a report from the authority on the design of the strengthening capacities for work in the Indio River basin, prepared in 2018.
The Indio River basin is one of the areas selected by the ACP with possible drinking water supply potential, so it is not ruled out, if required, to convert it into a multipurpose reservoir. In this place, Ábrego built a home, which he finished building in 2021, the deputy herself confirmed to La Prensa.
The Tocumen International Airport moved 17.8 million passengers in 2023, exceeding for the first time the figures prior to the crisis caused by the coronavirus respiratory pandemic (covid-19).
In 2019, the air terminal, which is 100% controlled by the State, handled a flow of 16.5 million passengers, while last year traffic reached 15.7 million people.
In December 2023, the terminal registered traffic of one million 606 thousand 558 people, being the highest monthly movement reported last year, where the average was 1.4 million.
Raffoul Arab, general manager of Tocumen SA, said that “the performance in 2023 was the result of the confidence of the airlines that have increased their frequencies and destinations, supported by the guarantees of safe and punctual operations that we have provided them. These facts strengthen the reputation and relevance of Panama as the main transit point and regional connectivity for passengers and cargo.”
According to the report, 71% of the traffic handled by Tocumen were connecting passengers who used the center that operates at the airport and then went to cities such as Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, San José, Punta Cana, Cancún, Orlando, Sao Paulo, Lima and Guayaquil, which were the ones that registered the most traffic from Panama last year.