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19 Government Workers, Including Jaime Ford Castro and Federico Pepe Suárez (Former MOP Ministers), Investigated for Corrupt Business Practices Involving $60.5M

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Ex minister named in overcharge probe

Jaime Ford

JAIME FORD former Minister of Public Works (MOP), already under investigation in other corruption cases during the previous administration, now has  to face  to the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor investigating the alleged $60 million  surcharge on the extension of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway.

His lawyer   Miguel Batista  has confirmed the June 28 questioning.

In the  same case, the prosecutor ordered the arrest of a representative of Transcaribe Trading (TCT), Daniel Ochy, on Thursday night, June 22.

Ochy is detained in one of the cells of the Judicial Investigation Directorate (DJI)  in Ancón.

His brother David Ochy has also been charged.

In the government of Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), and under the management of the then holder of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), Federico Suárez, it was reported that the work would be carried out for $ 152.6 million dollars. However, there were later additions, so the amount increased and  was never completed.

The Public Infrastructure and Canal Affairs Commission of the National Assembly  gave the current Minister of Public Works, Ramón Arosemena, an investigative report on the Design and Construction Project for the Rehabilitation and Extension of the Arraiján – La Chorrera Highway, which reflects a  $60 million overcharge  in construction calculations.

Panama  Comptroller, Federico Humbert said that there are deficiencies and defects in the rolling of the asphalt and the work remains unfinished. Humbert asked that a performance bond be executed to complete the work.

More charges
Ford is also being investigated for the irregular purchase of grain through the National Assistance Program (PAN) during the past administration and is under a precautionary country jail measure which means he has to report to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office on the 15th and 30th of each month.

Other ex-ministers related to the grain case are: Guillermo Ferrufino, ( Social Development) Lucy Molinar( Education) Roberto Henriquez (Presidency) and Frank De Lima, (Economy and Finance) reports La Estrella



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Lawyers move to stall highway corruption probe


THE LAWYERS of two former public works ministers embroiled in investigations of alleged overcharges by a construction company hired to work on a highway upgrading are making legal moves to stall anticorruption prosecutors.

The ex-ministers are  Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford Castro whose attorneys are objecting to a 10-month extension granted to prosecutors to complete investigations of an alleged multi-million dollar surcharge in the rehabilitation and extension of the  Arraiján-La Chorrera, highway by Transcaribe Trading (TCT).

The former officials are being investigated for the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration. Suarez has an order to appear under escort while Ford is due to  be questioned on Wednesday.

Six months into the investigation the prosecution requested an extension to follow the process. At that time, the court granted them 8 more months, a period that has already expired and they have now been given

Now gave them another 10 months which their defense lawyers consider “excessive” and have presented an amparo (protection) request.

In addition to the protection of constitutional guarantees, the defense of Suárez filed a writ of habeas corpus, a blocking procedure before the Supreme Court . The legal action was filed in the office of the presiding judge José Ayú Prado. The investigations also involve the brothers David and Daniel Ochy, representatives of TCT.

On June 22, Daniel Ochy was ordered to be detained in the cells of the Judicial Investigation Directorate.

On the day they were detained, Daniel Ochy also went to the First Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime

in connection with alleged irregularities in a series of transactions made for the purchase of Editora Panamá América, S.A (Epasa), publishers of Panama America and Critica.



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Two ex MOP ministers behind bars

Federico Suarez and Jaime Ford

TWO FORMER Ministers of Public Works (MOP) Federico Pepe Suárez and Jaime Ford spent Wednesday night, July 5,  behind bars.

They are under  investigation for overcosts for the contract for  the  rehabilitation and expansion of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway, which was awarded In 2010 to the company Transcaribe Trading, S.A. (TCT).

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office ordered their preventive detention, after days of interrogation.

They are the latest high rollers in the Ricardo Martinelli administration  to be introduced to the limited comforts of a cell in  The Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ). In Ancon.

The prosecution imputes the two former officials and Daniel Ochy, legal representative of TCT, who has been detained since June 22, for  alleged embezzlement.

The prosecution estimates that there was a surcharge of $60.5 million on the work, based  on  a report of the Public Infrastructure Committee of the National Assembly and an MOP audit.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Jaime Ford Castro and Federico Pepe Suárez (Former MOP Ministers) Involved in Corrupt Business Practices Charges
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Lawyers seek release of embezzlement suspects

Jaime Ford

LAWYERS for two former Ministers of Public Works who have been detained in the El Renacer prison as investigations continue  into alleged $60 million overcharging on a road project, have moved swiftly to try to get their clients released.

Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford, are under investigation  due to alleged overcharges in the expansion and rehabilitation of the Arraiján-La Chorrera, highway, and after 10 hours of questioning were ordered detained  by an anti-corruption prosecutor.

Rosendo Miranda, Suarez’s lawyer, presented an application for bail in the Fifteenth Criminal, court where he faces charges of embezzlement.

Miranda indicated that he  is waiting for the Supreme Court to resolve  an habeas corpus that is in the hands of the magistrate Jose Ayú Prado.

Miguel Batista, a lawyer at Ford, filed an application for Bail before the same court. The lawyer considers that the measure applied to his client “is  excessive and unjust. ”

He reiterated that Ford did not sign the contract with the construction company Transcaribe Trading, which  was

Awarded the project in  2010 and Ford was Head of the Ministry of Public Works in 2012.

He said  that in the next few days he will file a habeas corpus before the Supreme Court.

The former public works ministers of the last government were detained on Tuesday, July 4, after 10 hours of investigation by prosecutor Adecio Mojica.

Both were taken to the Judicial Investigation Directorate in Ancón, and on  Wednesday afternoon they were transferred to the El Renacer penitentiary

Both Miranda and Batista filed appeals for protection against the petition of  the  Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, for an extension of 10 months to complete the investigation.



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19 government workers linked to $60.5 million scam


NINETEEN former officials of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) and the Office of the Comptroller General have re suspects  in the  alleged  overcharge  of $60.5 million in the rehabilitation and expansion of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway, contract awarded in 2010 to Transcaribe Trading, S.A. (TCT).

The three most prominent people under investigation are former MOP  Ministers Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford, as well as Daniel Ochy, legal representative of TCT. All three are in detention in the El Renacer prison

Anti-corruption prosecutors  have also tied  the case to 13 former MOP officials. “linked by the inconsistencies and irregularities in the performance of the contract “.

In addition, they are accused of “signing, approving and processing accounts presented to execute the contract” to six ex-officials of the Comptroller General’s office which, at the time was headed by a now deceased former employee of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to 19 Government Workers, Including Jaime Ford Castro and Federico Pepe Suárez (Former MOP Ministers), Investigated for Corrupt Business Practices Involving $60.5M
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Minister accused of ignoring highway scam

José Antonio Domínguez

A DEPUTY of the ruling Panamenista Party, José Antonio Domínguez has accused the current Minister of Public Works Ramon  Arosemena, of having ignored the irregularities that occurred in the extension of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway.

The two previous ministers are in preventive detention in El Renacer prison while under investigation for their roles in an alleged $60.5 million overcharge scam connected to the project.

According to Domínguez, in spite of the fact that the minister had in his hands the report that produced an alleged surplus of $ 60.5 million in the execution of the work, he did not file the corresponding complaint with the Public Ministry.

Domínguez also accused the minister of giving him an addendum to this contract, despite knowing about the alleged overcharges in the execution of the work.

“If he chose to give addenda to a contractor despite having corrupt vices, it is because there were vices in play,” Domínguez said   in TVN Noticias.

The deputy said that the only thing the minister presented was a report to the Comptroller General of the Republic, which he does not have to investigate.

In a press release Arosemena said  that in parallel with the investigation carried out by the National Assembly, the Ministry also carried out a similar audit.

He said that in 2014, he asked the internal audit department to verify and analyze the contract awarded to TCT.  He explained that the department developed a preliminary report on the contract. The investigation concluded on April 27, 2015, throwing ‘overcharges’, in the work.

Subsequently, on July 27, 2015, the MOP sent the Comptroller’s Office the results of the investigation and at the same time requested a forensic audit of the project.

The  statement  also argues that all the information required by the prosecution has been provided.

He said  that during his administration no payments have been made to the TCT company, except those directly linked to the maintenance of the highway.



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$60.5 million overcharge investigation continues


DANIEL OCHY,  legal representative of Transcaribe Trading (TCT), appeared for further questioning  at the Public Ministry on Via Espana on Tuesday,  July 11.

TCT is    involved in a network of investigations into massive over costs in a highway program and is now linked to alleged money laundering in using the money to purchase a media group.

Ochy, is in preventive detention while being investigated  investigated for alleged over costs  in the expansion works of the Arraiján-La Chorrera motorway, awarded by the Ministry of Public Works in the last government.

Two requests for bail   have been made in favor of former Public Works ministers Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford, both detained preventive in El Renacer.

The prosecutor Adecio Mojica has been investigating , since August of 2015, an alleged overcost of more than $60.5  million  for work done by TCT  on the Arraiján-La Chorrera project.



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Ex-ministers each get $500,000 bail

Suarez and Ford out on bail

TWO FORMER Ministers of Public Works, embroiled in the Arriajan road widening scandal have been granted bail at $500,000 apiece.

The  Fifteenth Criminal Court granted release to Federico Pepe Suárez and Jaime Ford Castro, who are currently in El Renacer pprison whilebeing investigated over the rehabilitation and widening of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway.

The bail decision was made by  Judge Leslie Loaiza on  Friday, July 14.

The works on the highway were awarded in 2010 to the company Transcaribe Trading, S.A. (TCT).

Judge Loaiza made the decision after determining that Suarez and Ford “have complied with the

Reports or appearance “before the court, as ordered. He also took into account that on “multiple occasions” they have been granted exit from  the country and have returned. “They are not dangerous persons nor have they endangered the life of third parties “.

Both have family, work and domicile in the country, and “have faced the denunciations without trying to escape. ”

Loaiza said that the decision does not mean that “the case has concluded, but they shall be released on bail until determined in a judgment  whether or not they are criminally responsible.”

The Martinelli government ministers  ministers of the last government were detained  Tuesday, July 4, after being investigated for almost 10 hours by Anticorruption prosecutor Adecio Mojica.



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Ex-Minister fails to block corruption probe


FORMER MINISTER of Public Works, Jaime Ford, accused of alleged embezzlement in the contract for the extension of the Arraiján – La Chorrera highway during the previous government has failed in an attempt to block a continued investigation.

the  First Superior  Court has denied an Amparo of guarantees. The legal remedy filed by Ford sought to have the court revoke a 12-months extension granted to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office to continue investigations.



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Two ex-ministers among 11 facing highway scam trial

The overpriced highway
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The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has asked the Fifteenth Criminal Court to call to trial two former  Public Works (MOP) ministers the owners of a construction company and seven former officials of the MOP  and the Comptroller’s office all allegedly involved in a multi-million corruption scam.

Named are ex-ministers Federico Suárez and Jaime Ford, and brothers David and Daniel Ochy of Transcaribe Trading, S.A. (TCT), the company that once used its trucks and MOP equipment to block delivery of La Prensa. after the publication of an exposure story.

The prosecutor’s request follows after the culmination of the investigation for possible embezzlement in the widening and rehabilitation of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway, which was by TCT  during the Martinelli administration.

In addition, the prosecution asked Judge Leslie Loaiza to open criminal proceedings against seven former officials of the MOP and the Comptroller General.

The Comptroller’s Office calculated $7.9 million possible patrimonial injury to the State in the payments made by the MOP to TCT for the work, which was tendered at $ 152.6 million and ended up costing cost of $161.8 million.

Suarez and Ford are prevented from leaving the country; Daniel Ochy is in preventive detention  and his brother has disappeared

In 2014  the Panamenista  deputy José Antonio Domínguez received a complaint from  an official of the (MOP) of possible irregularities in the price of the tender for the extension of the Arraiján-La Chorrera, highway by  (TCT) in the past government

According to the deputy, the official confessed that he was forced to change the price of the budget that he had estimated for the work when the  MOP was headed by of Federico Pepe Suárez.

Domínguez, then chair of the National Assembly  Public Infrastructure and Canal Affairs Committee, appointed a subcommittee to investigate possible irregularities

The subcommittee concluded that there was a possible overprice of $60 million in the expansion and anomalies in the work.

“The report was delivered to the MOP head, Ramón Arosemena, who promised to investigate the anomalies, but did not. and, he refused to present it to the Public Ministry so the lawyer Francisco Zappi filed the complaint that started the investigation,” said Dominguez at that time.

Arosemena responded that he had cooperated with all the documents required by the prosecution, among them, an audit report and anomalies detected in the widening of the road, reports La Prensa

It was not until August 18, 2017, when the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic calculated an audit report- that there was a possible injury to the State of $ 7,914, 068  for the payments made to TCT.



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Jailed ex-minister side steps interrogation

Federico Pepe Suarez
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Panama’s Former Minister of Public Works already slapped with two preventive detention orders has once again decided not to risk digging the hole any deeper and exercised his constitutional right to not make a declaration that could incriminate him.

Federico Pepe Suarez is now facing an inquiry in the process related to alleged cost overruns in the preservation project of the historical heritage of the old city of Panama developed by the Odebrecht company.

ON Wednesday, October 24, Suarez was taken to the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, but he accepted article 25 of the Constitution which states that “no one is obliged to declare in a criminal, correctional or police matter, against himself, his spouse or his relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity.”

The former minister has been in a cell in the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ)  since Friday, October 12, because of the Blue Apple case, regarding the alleged payment of bribes to government officials by private contractors. In this case, Suarez also accepted article 25 reports La  Prensa


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Ex-minister gets $1.5 million bail in Casco Viejo Odebrecht orobe

José Pepe Suárez
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Panama ’s former Minister of Public Works  Federico José Pepe Suárez, accused of embezzlement in the Casco Viejo preservation project carried out by Odebrecht in the last government, has been granted bail of $1.5 million.

The former minister is provisionally detained in this case and for the investigation for alleged money laundering through the company Blue Apple.

Suarez is also charged in other cases, in which he has already been granted release bonds, for example, the alleged cost overruns in the widening project of the  Domingo Díaz road and the alleged irregularities in the extension of the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway. In both cases, he got bail of half a million dollars.



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Ex Minister to trial  in $47 million overpricing case


Suarez and Ruiz for trial

Posted 28/04/2019

The former Minister of Public Works (MOP) Federico Pepe Suárez, and the former head of the MOP Contracts Administration  Jorge Churro Ruiz have been called to trial in the 15th Criminal Court alleged irregularities in the rehabilitation of Domingo Díaz Avenue.

The investigation originated after the Comptroller's Office gave the Public Prosecutor an audit that estimated the possible overpricing in the work at $ 47.3 million. The final price of the project was $237.5 million, and the audit revealed that the reasonable price was $190.2 million.

The project was awarded to the consortium formed by Ingenieros Civiles y Asociados, and the construction company Meco. Suarez is under house arrest for the Blue Apple case.



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