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Attorney General Denounces Threats; US Ambassador Joins in the Fray


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The Procadura General of Panama, (Attorney General) Kenia Porcell, publicly addressed yesterday the issue of outside pressure and threats which are being received by Prosecutors working on major corruption cases such as Odebrecht, New Business, and Financial Pacific. 

She also implored the Supreme Court to quit stalling and move ahead with related decisions.

"" In Panama we are living at a crucial moment, we are about to decide if we want to be a country where the law will follow, where the corrupt pay for his misdeeds, where the money of the Panamanians will be recovered or will we remain a country where we look the other way when they steal the resources of all Panamanians,"

http://ministeriopublico.gob.pa/pronunciamiento-la-procuradora-general-la-nacion/

http://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/Pronunciamiento-Porcell-amenazas-reacciones-preocupacion_0_1058295197.html

Edited by Keith Woolford
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Panama corruption prosecutors threatened

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Kenia Porcell speaks out

PANAMA  is locked in a cage of corruption with an organized crime structure involving the courts, banks, politicians and power brokers who operate with impunity while prosecutors are facing threats and intimidation.

The message comes from the country’s Attorney General, Kenia Porcell who addressed the nation on Tuesday,  August 29.

She denounced blocking of Public Ministry (MP) investigations of corruption and money laundering that run the risk of going unpunished.

“The investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office on corruption and money laundering are complex and difficult. Not allowing prosecutors to complete their investigations is from our perspective,  impunity, and the Panamanian people do not deserve it, “said Porcell.

Threats, intimidation
She  reported that they are discovering “a structure of organized crime that took money from the Panamanian people. ” This has resulted in” prosecutors being threatened and intimidated. ”

She  said that prosecutors have informed her that five of the “most emblematic” investigations, related to money laundering, may not be finished.

La Prensa reports that  judicial sources have confirmed , these are the investigations linked to Financial

Pacific (High Spirit account); The purchase of Epasa (New Business), Odebrecht-Switerland (bribes), the Tonosí irrigation scandal and Finmeccanica (radars).

‘There are economic, political, business, media and banking powers, trying to prevent the investigations being concluded, ” said Porcell.

“We only ask that we be allowed to investigate and that in a trial before the whole country the responsibility of the parties involved “in cases of high profile corruption” is proved.  she said.

Judicial actions
Referring to the actions taken by some judges and the judicial system she said that the decisions that “the courts take on nullifying investigations,   must never, never, never lead to or imply impunity. ”

Therefore, “I have decided to inform the country, as representative of Panamanian society, by constitutional  mandate, of the weakness of  the administration of justice in Panama.”

Civil society organizations have asked Porcell to publicly name Groups or individuals who are lobbying or threatening prosecutors to prevent cases of high profile corruption being  criminally investigated and punished.

Hands tied
Annette Planells, leader of the Independent Movement (Movin), said: “The issue of corruption we are facing is not small, there are organized structures that have operated for years, government after government, and do not want to abandon what has been their way of doing  until  they leave.”

Planells said  that the role of the prosecutor is to take the cases forward, but judges do not want to declare the cases …Audiences are not fixed and those that are made are canceled by the most ridiculous excuses.

They have the ability to say that they must stop evading processes and finally there is the subject of habeas corpus that also dilates, “she said.

“The AG  is fighting corruption with her hands tied. I think it’s time to support the Public Ministry. ”  Freddy Pittí, of Juntos Decidimos, said that the AG should name the threatening individuals. “She cannot only mention that there are pressures, because it is something that we all know, “he said.

The ex-comptroller  Carlos Vallarino described the prosecutor as “brave”. “We must recognize the merits, and the team of professionals she leads in difficult times (…) never in the history of this country have there been so many investigations of theft, embezzlement,  and multimillion dollar injuries.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-corruption-prosecutors-threatened

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US ambassador condemns attack on Attorney General

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THE US Ambassador to Panama has issued a strongly worded denunciation of an article in a Panama newspaper  containing what the local branch of Transparency International sees as a veiled threat to Attorney General Kenia Porcell.

Ambassador lohn Feeley joined many local voices on Monday, Seo. 11 in condemning an article in Critica  attacking her in her  fight against organized crime and corruption.

According to the ambassador, it is necessary to “discard criticism that is neither constructive nor sustainable.” In addition, he said that “we must subtract all legitimacy and credibility from the supposed knower of Colombia or Catatumbo, who seeks to match the situation of this country to that of Colombia.” On  Sunday 10 September, the newspaper Critic published an opinion piece, by Julio César Caicedo Mendieta , entitled El Catatumbo by Professor Porcina Kenia , whose contents were considered a “veiled death threat” against the head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office byJosé Ugaz , president of Transparency International. “I reject the comments published this weekend about the Attorney General, comments that reveal a vile attitude of pathetic machismo, using  language of contempt to threaten ‘this lady l,” said the ambassador. He said that his mother and wife, as well as co-workers, held public office, and “all surpassed the nonsense of ‘criticism’, thus growing – within bureaucracies rooted in machismo – on their own merits and efforts.

“For my part, I consider that Kenia Porcell is a person of personal and professional integrity and courage.”

Bravery is not only demonstrated during the din of military conflict  or firefighters running into a menacing fire. But in the fight against organized crime and corruption, from Washington to Panama, “he said.

He maintained that his government will provide support to the Attorney General’s Office both in training professionals in the accusatory criminal justice system and sharing judicial information.

“This world needs men and women with tenacity and equal in their commitment to serve their people to build a better, fairer, more equitable society.

There is no space in the world for sad machistas and their flimsy threats disguised as concern for a supposedly weak sex,”t he ambassador said in a statement.

“I have confidence that ‘this girl’ can take good care of herself, and I know she has real and respectful friends ready to support her.”

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/us-ambassador-condemns-attack-attorney-general

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