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New AG Javier Caraballo promises dynamic action

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New AG promises dynamic action


Posted 01/03/2021

Javier Caraballo took office on Monday, March 1, as Panama’s Attorney General, replacing Eduardo Ulloa, who submitted his resignation on Wednesday, February 24.

“How long I am going to last in this position does not depend on me. It depends on the Cabinet Council. What I can assure you is that the days, weeks, months or the time that I am are here, we are going to do it in the most dynamic and effective way, ”Caraballo told reporters, in his first speech as attorney in charge.

Earlier, he signed the act of taking office at 8:15 a.m when President Laurentino Cortizo,  wrote on his social networks:

“He has taken office as head of the Attorney General's Office, , until the Cabinet Council agrees, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 200 of the Constitution, to appoint the new Procurator General of the Nation.”

On his first day in command of the Public Ministry, he called the anti-corruption prosecutors to a meeting.

At the provisional headquarters of the Prosecutor's Office in the Balboa sector, the arrival of the Superior Anticorruption Prosecutor, Tania Sterling , who is in charge of investigating high-profile cases, including that of Odebrecht, could be seen. Sterling, who did not offer a comment, had a folder in her  hand.

Caraballo avoided giving details



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New Attorney General faces ticking clock


Posted 06/03/2021

Will Javier Caraballo the new attorney general be around long enough to oversee the fruition of the scores of criminal investigations of high-profile figures including two former presidents and their courtesans? Hopes run high but they always do when we accept false promises.
From 1995 to 2021, in 26 years, Panama has had eight attorneys general: José Antonio Sossa, Ana Matilde Gómez , Giuseppe Bonissi, José Ayú Prado , Ana Isabel Belfon, Kenia Porcell , Eduardo Ulloa and Javier Caraballo, alternate attorney who  now serves as the attorney in charge. Only one, José Antonio Sossa, served the 10-year term of office.

In a little more than a quarter of a century, the Public Ministry has faced very important institutional challenges: the inquisitorial system, which granter d many powers to the Public Ministry, was eliminated; the Judicial Branch of the Judicial Technical Police, the investigative arm of the Public Ministry, was stripped; A new generation of processes was introduced with the accusatory criminal system, and special trials for deputies and other graduates.

All this happened just when the time of greatest corruption with public funds in Panama's history exploded.

In addition, criminal phenomena were gaining complexity with the growth and development of gang organizations in Panama, fundamental links for international drug trafficking.

In parallel, a new generation of players drove innovation in money laundering and extended their claws to law firms, auditors, banks and other companies that lent themselves to dirty money, but very fast, from names like Odebrecht, FCC and Blue Apple. ,among others.

The Public Ministry had to confront criminal networks at the same time, without the best legal instruments, with a lack of human and economic resources, and, on occasions, against an important part of the political class and business groups.

During the last decade, the Public Ministry has been the object of defamatory campaigns and harassment of its prosecutors, accompanied by constant intimidation of experts and witnesses, and a weakening of cooperation in investigative matters by the Directorate of Judicial Investigation of the National Police.

The most recent governments have wanted to manipulate and influence, unduly, the actions of the Public Ministry.

The same factors of power that achieved the dismissal of Attorney Ana Matilde Gómez in 2010, lined up against Attorney Kenia Porcell, obtaining her resignation in 2019, and finally led to the departure of Attorney Eduardo Ulloa.

The battle for the Public Ministry represents another escalation of the organized crime and grand corruption networks that are subject to the rule of law in Panama. More than one hundred years of history show the Public Ministry as the mirror of those struggles for power, and the quality of the democratic system.



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