Tuesday 3rd October 2023.

October 2, 2023


The Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases of the First Judicial District of Panama declared void the 12-year prison sentence handed down to the former mayor of the district of Panama, Bosco Ricardo Vallarino .

The decision was made by Tribunal magistrates José Hoo Justiniani, Eyda Amarilis Juárez and Manuel Mata Avendaño.

On June 15, 2023, the First Criminal Cases Court sentenced Vallarino to 12 years in prison for the crime of embezzlement to the detriment of the capital commune.

Judge Agueda Renteria also sentenced Luis Marcelino Stanziola and Noris Raquel Castañedas, former officials, to three years in prison for the crime of culpable embezzlement.

Now, with the decision of the Superior Court, a new sentence must be made , the Judicial Branch reported in a statement.

In the ruling, the magistrates point out that “based on arguments inferred in the appeal briefs that, in the conviction of June 15, 2023, in the motivating part called legal bases, elements were used that are not inherent to this criminal process, as are other contracts for which other cases were opened.”

That is, the court would have included the four audits carried out on the Vallarino administration and not two as should have been done.

According to the Court, article 2409 of the Judicial Code is directly violated, which states: “The sentence may not fall except on the charges for which he has testified with cause for follow-up, except as provided in article 2383.”

Now, the process followed by the three former officials must be returned to the First Liquidation Court in order “to correct the preterminations indicated in this resolution,” the statement highlights.

The process against Vallarino and the two former officials arises from an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office for the irregular management of public funds, related to the awarding of two contracts to the companies Juelpa, SA. and Consulting and Consulting of Panama, to carry out a consultancy for the management of sanitary waste in the district of Panama.

The investigation began due to audits carried out by the Comptroller’s Office in 2013.

Former first lady Marta Linares de Martinelli appeared this Monday, October 2, at the headquarters of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) , in Ancón, to present her application manually as a running mate for her husband, the candidate for the presidency of the Republic. ,  Ricardo Martinelli .

She was accompanied by Martinelli who is president of Realizing Goals, the lawyer Alma Cortés and the president of the Alianza party, José Muñoz. The presentation of the documentation is made one day after Martinelli alleged that the TE “rejected” Marta Linares’ application electronically.

According to Linares de Martinelli, “there is no law” that prevents her from being on the ballot with her husband.

“I am concerned that this has not started and we already see obstacles,” he indicated.

He assured that he managed to present his papers to the general secretary of the TE and the entity must respond within a period of three days.

He also filed a complaint to clarify if there is any impediment to his application.

A claim for annulment against the contract signed by the National Charity Lottery (LNB) for the implementation of the electronic lottery was presented on the morning of this Monday, October 2, by the presidential candidate Ricardo Lombana, in the Supreme Court of Justice.

Lombana said that some time ago he asked the Lottery, directed by Gloriela Del Río, from Molirena, to provide him with all the information about this contract signed with the company Panama Lottery Technology Services, a consortium made up of Panama Scientific Gaming, SA, and Scientific Games International Inc. “The Lottery provided a package of information that was incomplete,” he said.

He indicated that the appeal is aimed at declaring void the addendum to the contract that “illegally extended” the agreement for 10 more years.

He pointed out that this case is similar to that of Panama Ports, where “without having been transparent and without having complied with the law, they extend a contract to a company.”

He assured that this would violate the public procurement law. “They extend a contract to a company that no one knows who owns it,” he added.

The mayor of the district of Panama, José Luis Fábrega , managed to get the Municipal Council of Panama to approve several addendums through which he drastically increased the cost of several of the works he is currently carrying out.

The most notable case was that of the Municipal del Norte park, in Chilibre , which went from costing $16.9 million to $25.9 million , that is, $9 million more and representing an increase of $53.2% of its original value.

Fábrega took back the Northern Municipal Park after failing in his attempt to transfer its administration to the Ministry of Education and the Social Security Fund.

As you will remember, this work began in the last administration (2014-2019), when the mayor was José Isabel Blandón, and was developed on a 20-hectare plot of land in the community of San Vicente, district of Chilibre, at a cost of $16.9 millions. Blandón left on June 30, 2019 and it was not until 2023, one year before the 2024 general elections, that Fábrega resumed its construction. In fact, the current mayor plans to run for re-election.

The argument of the Municipality of Panama to increase the cost of the work is that “needs” and “requirements” were presented that must be included in the project, such as: swimming pool, drinking water supply, larger areas for children’s games, expansion of lighting coverage and extension of the cycle path.

They also mention equipping the fine arts buildings, library, auditorium, improving the gymnasium and expanding parking capacity.

It should be mentioned that this million-dollar project was abandoned for almost three years, meaning that several of the structures that had been built now require improvements due to their deterioration

The Darién National Park , the largest protected area in Panama and recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), suffers the impact of the irregular transit of migrants through the area.

The authorities of the National Migration Service (Senafront) have identified four migratory routes, which are affecting areas such as the Serranía de Darién Hydrological Reserve and the Darién Protective Forest.

These are the Caledonia-Zapallal routes of 11.54 kilometers, Carreto-Canaán of 9 kilometers, Capurganá-Bajo Chiquito with 30.34 kilometers and Capurganá-Canaán with a route of 34.72 kilometers.

This was explained by the national director of Protected Areas and Biodiversity of the Ministry of the Environment (Miambiente ), José Félix Victoria , who during the recent Scientific Summit of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations (Ssunga78, for its acronym in English) , where provided details of the environmental damage and the costs of its recovery in Darién.

He maintained that due to the transit of irregular migrants along the four routes identified through the Darién jungle, 37 streams and 20 rivers have been affected.

In addition, the official explained that on the Caledonia-Zapallal route the lost primary forests are estimated at 6 hectares, in Carreto-Canaán 0.6 hectares, in Capurganá-Bajo Chiquito 0.8 hectares and in Capurganá-Canaán it is 0.1 hectares. Primary forests disappear to make way for trails.

While the loss due to soil erosion (deterioration of the land due to the elimination of its particles) in these four routes is 391,803.78 cubic meters (m³).

In that sense, Victoria specified that on the Caledonia-Zapallal route the loss of soil due to erosion is 110,731.15 m³, on the Carreto-Canaán route 62,126.91 m³, in Capurganá-Bajo Chiquito the soil erosion is 90,934.15 m³ while in Capurganá-Bajo Chiquito the soil erosion is 90,934.15 m³ Canaan soil loss due to erosion reaches 125,011.57 m³.


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