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Former Deputy Francisco Ameglio On Trial For Alleged Embezzlement of the Defunct Social Investment Fund (FIS)

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Ex-deputy facing embezzlement trial after 13 years


Former deputy Francisco Ameglio, on trial for alleged embezzlement

Posted 04/07/2021

After a process that has lasted for at least 13 years, the Third Criminal Settlement Court opened a criminal case against former deputy Francisco Toto Ameglio and his former collaborator Guadalupe Alvarado, for alleged embezzlement to the detriment of the defunct Social Investment Fund (FIS).

The court also granted a provisional dismissal to another 11 people who were investigated by the Second Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, but against whom it found no evidence to support the opening of a lawsuit against them since they were suppliers to whom some had been turned over. checks.

The investigation began in 2008, as a result of an audit by the Comptroller's Office on the delivery to the Monastery of the Visitation of Santa María de Panamá of $380,000 funds from the FIS. The audit revealed the existence of irregularities in the execution of seven projects in which the FIS delivered checks that were received by Guadalupe Alvarado.

According to the report, "there was no prudence in the management of the funds assigned to carry out the works."

The document also specifies that Ameglio's assistant was the one who administered the funds.

It was determined that there are several irregularities in relation to the documentation that supports the execution of seven community projects for which the FIS turned 7 checks, which were received by subordinates of Ameglio, and then deposited in accounts of the National Bank in the name of the Monastery of the Visitation of Santa María de Panamá.

The report highlights that Guadalupe Alvarado's connection with the events arises from the fact that as the person in charge of the administration and management of the funds granted to the religious congregation for the projects, he did not present any documentation to the FIS that would support the disbursement of each check.

The ruling specifies that Ameglio, in the exercise of the post of deputy, allegedly used the Monastery of the Visitation of Santa María de Panamá as an intermediary with the FIS, in order to obtain funds from the institution through non-refundable financial support contracts. for the communities of its 8-10 circuit, but there is no evidence that these funds have been properly used for the purposes established in the contractual clauses.

To reach the decision, the court valued the statements of at least five residents of the 8-10 circuit, who claimed to have received financial aid, without any study being involved to justify the support offered to carry out political activities in that circuit. They also took the statements of the nuns of the convent, who revealed that the person in charge of managing the funds and administering the project was Guadalupe Alvarado.

More than half of the cases investigated by the Public Ministry (MP) in recent years, related to alleged misappropriation of public funds through the FIS and the defunct National Aid Program (PAN), have had little progress in the courts. A recent report revealed that of 14 cases for alleged irregularities in the PAN (now the Directorate of Social Assistance) that have been sent to the courts, only one has been convicted,   while the rest of the cases are bogged down by appeals.




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Chicken theft - fast justice, rob $50 million 13-yr delay


Renard the Fox would have enjoyed the stalling tactics

Posted 04/07/2021

It took thirteen years for a court to open a criminal case against a former deputy and one of his collaborators for a case of alleged embezzlement to the detriment of an institution that has already disappeared: the Social Investment Fund (FIS), which, with a new name (Programa National Aid-PAN), was later robbed by officials whose cases have not yet been resolved.

What these processes tell us is that justice in Panama, in relation to crimes related to the nation's heritage, is made for impunity to reign. The suspect of stealing a chicken is more likely to be convicted than a politician who confesses - publicly and in writing - to have stolen $50 million from state work. Our legislation only serves to protect the crime and relieve the guilty of suspicion. It is also, an intricate minefield, made so that cases are lost due to technicalities, without getting to the bottom of the facts. Panama urgently needs to establish more simplified processes and provide justice with legal and professional tools with high ethical and academic standards, strengthen it with economic resources and completely renew it. That, or we condemn ourselves to live without law or order. - LA PRENSA. Jul 4.



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