Tuesday 9th April 2024.

April 8, 2024


The Social Security Fund (CSS) again experienced a crash in one of its technological systems last week, evidencing the risk of loss of vital financial information in records of income, collection or payment of benefits. The reason: the obsolescence of IBM Mainframe storage equipment.

La Prensa learned that the situation was reported to a technology company without contractual obligations with the entity. However, due to the significance of the incident, it made its technicians available, who alerted about a “serious” failure, which disabled the operation of the systems that serve the country’s insured and retirees for several days.

It is understood, from information sent to the director of the CSS, Enrique Lau , that the problem was temporarily resolved with the stabilization of the system.

However, after reviewing the entire technological infrastructure, it was detected that the state of the system and equipment is “more critical” than what was reported in September 2023.

This newspaper echoed that alert last year when it published that Lau had received a letter from one of the CSS suppliers, warning about the critical situation due to obsolescence and failures in IBM Mainframe equipment, linked to related services. with financial benefits.

At that time, it was indicated that the progression of the problems detected could lead to a total “inoperability” of the systems, with no possibility of recovery and direct impact on the functioning of the institution.

However, the CSS tried to publicly mitigate the risk they faced regarding losing financial information, indicating that the entity maintained a support, maintenance and contingency service contract with the company KIO NETWORK, which would allow them to continue operating in the event of a failure. of the Mainframe.

From that moment, it was alerted that the equipment did not have maintenance support from the companies that were suppliers at the time and that, in the event of an eventuality, the institution would have limited care and resolution measures.

Now, another warning signal is being sent again. Serious findings have been found: the storage system has inoperative disks that cannot be replaced, and both storage system controllers are “alarmed.”

Additionally, there are two storage consoles that are not working and there is no manufacturer support to get them back online.

It is striking that since last year, the CSS indicates that it has a support and contingency service contract, but continues with the agony of an expired infrastructure.

It was recommended that the CSS create and execute a daily backup policy for all information, both databases and programs residing on the computers, to prevent a “catastrophic” loss of information.

In 2012, the CSS began the process to replace the Mainframe system with the SIPE and the Safiro; but the implementation of these systems was not fully carried out, resulting in the continued use of all three systems to date.

This situation has led to difficulties in the capture, processing and consistent presentation of financial information in areas such as cash accounts, investments, accounts receivable, inventories and accounts payable.

For example, the generation of financial statements is based on data from the three systems (Mainframe, Safiro and SIPE), which are not integrated with each other. As a result, many accounting transactions require manual consolidation.

In a statement, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) denied claims by PRD representative Zulay Rodríguez , regarding the case that that court is pursuing for the alleged appropriation of 66 kilos of gold, a metal claimed by the deceased Mexican goldsmith José Luis Penagos .

In the document, the CSJ clarifies that neither during the first call for the hearing to bring charges (February 29), nor afterwards , did the fiscal magistrate of the Ariadne García case, nor María Cristina Chen Stanziola, who acts as a guarantee judge, urge or promoted the parties to make some type of agreement, “as has been misinformed.”

An act that appears in “audio and video,” warns the statement from the judiciary.

“We must clarify that the accused person (Zulay Rodríguez) did not appear at this procedure despite the fact that all parties were duly notified since February 21, 2024, and in which the technical defense of the deputy made several requests,” they add.

Among the requests made by Ángel Álvarez, the deputy’s lawyer, the Court lists the following:

  • That said hearing be rescheduled.
  • That in view of the resignation of his client from the position of deputy, jurisdiction was declined to the ordinary justice system.
  • He expressed his client’s interest in finding an alternative way to resolve the conflict, and invited the victim (Juan David Penagos, son of José Luis Penagos) to start conversations to reach an agreement.

On April 4, one day after the judicial proceeding was held where Rodríguez’s agreement with the Penagos family was not admitted, the deputy assured on Telemetro that the tax magistrate and the guarantee magistrate had told them that they had to reach an agreement. “They were the ones who established this agreement so that this would end,” she said.

When journalist Atenógenes Rodríguez asked her to explain this part, since she has not attended any of the hearings, the lawyer pointed out that the magistrates proposed it to her lawyer.

“It was with my lawyer Ángel Álvarez and that is recorded. We have the audios, and we have where the two magistrates, both the prosecutor and the guarantee judge, said, reach the agreement, and we close the case,” Rodríguez added.

In this case, the Court investigates Rodríguez for the alleged commission of the following crimes: against economic assets, in the form of theft with abuse of trust and fraud. Against the economic order, specifically for money laundering. Against collective security, in the form of illicit association to commit a crime. Against the administration of justice, specifically for prevarication.

Regarding Álvarez’s requests, the Court says that they were “debated under strict adversarial law” and “timely attended to.” The State body adds that from that moment on, three oral events (hearings) have been held in person: March 7, March 15 and April 3. They add that these hearings have been rescheduled because the deputy did not attend.

y’s fiscal policy is under scrutiny, not only due to the recent loss of investment grade, but also due to the transfer of $100.5 million from public debt savings left in the coffers of the National Assembly.

The transfer of these funds was carried out by the Budget Commission to pay its payroll for temporary personnel and special services, with the endorsement of the Executive. This movement would have been carried out without the knowledge of some deputies who belong or were on that legislative commission between 2019 and 2023.

Furthermore, mandatory discussions to support the exorbitant amount in the Budget Commission would have been deliberately omitted. An investigation by La Prensa , titled “Public debt in the spotlight”, reveals details of these departure transfers in the Assembly.

Here are some key points to understand how they did it:

  1. Secret diversions : The National Assembly, supported by the Executive, diverted at least $100.5 million from public debt savings to maintain and increase its payrolls, using transfers of budget items.
  2. Quick execution : While the population was in confinement due to the respiratory pandemic and the deputies, when they met, did so virtually , the Budget Commission – chaired by deputy Benicio Robinson (PRD) – with simplistic financial architectures in the majority of the cases transferred savings from the public debt to the Assembly, according to resolutions of the National Budget Directorate of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
  3. Violations of the internal regulations of the Assembly? Although article 96 of the Assembly’s Internal Regulations establishes that each deputy will receive a copy of the minutes of the previous session before starting the next one, this would not be fulfilled. The independent deputy Juan Diego Vásquez denounced that the copy is not delivered to him in electronic format as indicated by the norm, despite the habeas data filed.
  4. Significant increase in public debt : Since 2019, public debt in Panama has increased considerably, reaching around $50 billion as of February 2024. However, at the end of last March a new loan of $350 million approved by the World Bank. This occurred days before losing the investment grade rating agency Fitch Ratings.
  5. Concerns about financial management : Experts such as the former Vice Minister of Economy, Domingo Latorraca, express concern about the practice of using funds intended for debt repayment towards payroll expenses, considering it a “terrible” and counterproductive practice in a context of high public debt and limited financial resources.

The migration and security authorities of Panama today, March 8, “categorically” rejected the report published by Human Rights Watch , which indicates that in Colombia and Panama the authorities do not effectively protect the right to life and physical integrity of migrants and applicants. of asylum in transit, nor do immigration authorities investigate violations of their rights effectively and quickly.

Samira Gozaine, director of the National Immigration Service , assured that this report does not reflect the reality of what is happening in Darién and that it has a hidden purpose that only the organization knows.

The official added that more than 900,000 people have passed through the Darién jungle in these five years, there are more than 17 institutions and NGOs, and they have never heard the stories of what is said in the report.

He stressed that this report has more aspects of being an ideological report than the objective reality of what is happening in Darién, since it does not include the rights of the girls and boys that their parents have abandoned in the jungle. “In those 130 pages there has not been a single line dedicated to these children,” she said.

There is also no mention of the fire in the modular buildings where 30 immigration officials and 17 from the National Border Service (Senafront) may have lost their lives, he said.


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