Wednesday 29th May 2024.

May 28, 2024


Dinoska Montalvo de Gracia has been designated as the next Government Minister who will accompany the president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, in his Cabinet Council that takes office next Monday, July 1.

Montalvo is a graduate of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the Universidad del Istmo and, as a lawyer, has been a litigator in areas such as criminal, family and civil law.

His academic credentials include a postgraduate degree in Accusatory Criminal System obtained from the Institute of Legal Study and Research and the Higher Institute of the Judiciary of Panama.

In addition, Montalvo has a master’s degree in criminal law and criminal procedural law. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Law at the Santa María la Antigua University.

He also has a diploma in criminal law with a mention in money laundering and an advanced course in law in oral litigation from the University of Salamanca.

Montalvo is a founding partner of Innova Legal Group and director of the Training Center in Criminal Procedure, Family and Strategic Litigation, where she is in charge of designing training programs and selecting trainers in various areas of Law.

Juan Francisco Borrell and Julian Águila Jiménez were appointed as vice ministers of Government and Indigenous Affairs, respectively.

This was announced this Tuesday, May 28, by the office of the elected president of Panama, José Raúl Mulino, on his X account.

Borrell has a degree in law and political science from the Latin American University of Science and Technology; He has a diploma in negotiations, treaties and international trade from the University of Santiago de Chile, in conjunction with the Latin American University of Foreign Trade of Panama. Likewise, he has a master’s degree in business administration from INCAE Business School.

Meanwhile, Águila Jiménez has a degree in law and political science from the University of Panama; He has a summary instruction technician from that same house of higher education.

In the period 2009-2012 and 2013-2014, the designated deputy minister of Indigenous Affairs was deputy governor of the Ngäbe Buglé region; while between 2012 and 2013 he was national director of Indigenous Policy of the Ministry of Government.

Evelyn Vargas Reynaga , the lawyer of the Martinelli Linares who was convicted of money laundering in the Odebrecht and Blue Apple cases , is a fugitive from justice, as confirmed to La Prensa by sources from the Public Ministry.

Vargas reached a sentencing and collaboration agreement of 40 months in prison in the Odebrecht case and another 40 months in the Blue Apple case. In a hearing before a compliance judge, both sentences were accumulated, totaling 80 months in prison, which is why the Judicial Investigation Directorate (DIJ) was requested to arrest him.

On February 9, the Superior Court of Appeals confirmed the decision of the Compliance Court of the First Judicial District and ordered the capture and affiliation of Vargas Reynaga in the prison system.

Until now, the authorities do not know the whereabouts of the lawyer, although they believe she is in the country, since there are no records of her leaving through any of the border points or local airports.

In the network of bribes that Odebrecht delivered in exchange for contracts with the State, Vargas had an important participation and admitted in his denunciation that he created companies for former president Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal and his sons Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares , with the intention to acquire luxury goods, such as yachts, a helicopter and an apartment in Madrid, Spain.

His statement allowed the Public Ministry to seize several of these properties.

Also in the Blue Apple case, Vargas made statements in which he links the children of former President Martinelli with the creation of companies for the transfer of funds.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office attributes Vargas to having participated in the creation of companies such as Corporación de Energía del Istmo y Bosques, Corales y Arrecifes del Atlántico, through which funds in the amount of $4 million were moved.

Cecibel García , former candidate for deputy for circuit 8-6 (December 24, Las Garzas, Las Mañanitas, Pacora, Pedregal, San Martín, Tocumen) and mother of former deputy Katleen Levy , confirmed that she contested the elections in that sector of the capital.

He filed the appeal last Friday, May 24, through his lawyer Antonio San Martín, after collecting all the information regarding the electoral process. In his complaint, he alleges that they found at least 66 minutes with alleged irregularities that include “errors and erasures.”

Furthermore, he maintains that most of the minutes would not have the signature of the board secretary and supposedly they did not allow comparison of the minutes that the circuit board had with those that the representatives of political parties had.

He adds in his appeal that, additionally, the polling station members would not have counted the flat vote that corresponded to him as a candidate nominated by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena). García had the daughter of her former Panameñista Party representative, Katleen Levy, as a candidate for substitute. Therefore, she is asking for a new election in that circuit.

The administration’s attorney, Rigoberto González , assured that although he abides by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice that prevented him from investigating officials for the management of decentralization funds, in this case the one who loses is the citizen, who will be left without know the use given to these resources.

González expressed that “I must abide by the Court’s ruling, but not share it,” since now with the decision announced last Friday, he is prevented from carrying out actions that “previously the Supreme Court of Justice itself told me I could.”

He assured that the Court has varied some previous rulings of that body of justice, in which it was recognized powers that, now they inform him, it does not have.

He considered that to change previous rulings of the Court, the Court must first recognize that the previous rulings were wrong and are being rectified, but that in this case the judicial body has not complied with that aspect.

The official explained that in the case of the complaint filed by lawyer Ernesto Cedeño in relation to the use of funds from the National Decentralization Authority (AND) , the only aim was to make the management of public funds transparent, but that the ruling of the Court has prevented it.

González emphasized that in this case the Court’s ruling, in which it was declared that it was not competent to investigate the ethical conduct of the officials who manage the AND’s funds, does not affect him, but rather the citizens who do not You will know the destination given to these resources.

He also urged the Comptroller General of the Nation to provide details of the use of these funds, after Comptroller Gerardo Solís assured that no anomalies were detected in the management of these resources.

Last Friday, under the presentation of Judge Ariadne García and in a ruling with six votes in favor and three against, the Plenary Court granted a protection of guarantees filed by the director of the AND, Edward Mosley Ibarra, which determined that González could not investigate the ethical actions of the officials who handled decentralization funds.

The companies Elektra Noreste (ENSA), Empresa de Distribución Eléctrica Metro Oeste (Naturgy) and Empresa de Distribución Eléctrica Chiriquí (Edechi-Naturgy) were inspected by the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco), due to complaints for alleged monopolistic practices, presented by companies participating in the solar panel market.

The investigations also reach the subsidiaries ENSA Servicios and Naturgy Services.

The diligence carried out on May 16, 2024 was carried out within the framework of an administrative investigation due to a complaint filed by providers of the development, installation and integration service into the network of distributors and marketers of electrical energy of photovoltaic panels in homes and businesses, against the companies mentioned above.

The complainants indicated that the practices of the distributors would be contravening the competition regulations, specifically those typified in numeral 9 of article 16 of Law 45 of 2007.

The rule is related to any act that unreasonably damages or impedes the process of free economic competition and free competition in the production, processing, distribution, supply or marketing of goods or services.

“We have to see the evidence to see if they take advantage of their position in the market, like those who grant the permits [to install the solar panels], having companies that also compete with the small ones,” said Jorge Quintero, general administrator of the Acodeco.

The Panamanian Chamber of Solar Energy issued a statement on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 28, in which they asked to stop the “unfair practices” that companies such as Ensa, Naturgy and Edechi have allegedly incurred.

Earlier, the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) announced the start of an administrative investigation against the companies in question and their subsidiaries for alleged monopolistic practices that would affect the solar panel market.

According to the Chamber, they have observed with concern how electricity distributors, which have the regulatory role in approving solar panel installations, have engaged in practices that negatively affect competition.

According to the union, the distributors, acting as regulators and certifiers, are demanding that the solar companies deliver all their plans, permits and complete customer data to decide on the viability of installing the meter.

They explain that this practice allows distributors to unjustifiably influence the approval or denial of solar projects, creating an unequal environment that is detrimental to competition. In addition to that, they report that there have been unjustified delays, making projects more expensive and affecting consumer confidence.

Also, the Chamber says it has received multiple reports of difficulties connecting approved solar systems to the electrical grid, harming customers and hindering the expansion of solar energy in the country.

The organization stressed that these practices not only harm the member companies of the union, but also hinder the sustainable and efficient development of the energy sector in Panama.


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