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Cabinet Reviewing Law Allowing Odebrecht Contracts

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Cabinet Reviewing Law Allowing Odebrecht Contracts

Alvaro Aleman
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THE RULING by a Panama judge that the Odebrecht construction company which has paid millions in bribes to local officials can bid for government contracts is to be reviewed by the Legal Department of the Presidency and then discussed by the cabinet says Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán.

The ruling was based on the collaboration agreement signed between the company and the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office that investigated the payment of bribes.

Meanwhile, civil society leaders question the reforms to the  Public Procurement law (22)  which did not achieve the objective of preventing companies linked to corruption getting State contracts.

Magaly Castillo, of the Citizens Alliance, said that the problem is not the judge.” There is a need for legislation that prohibits these companies from continuing to tender because the legislature did not make the necessary reforms,” she said.

Olga De Obaldía, of the Foundation for the Development of Citizen Liberty, the Panama chapter of Transparency International, says that the contracting law gives an advantage to Odebrecht, which produces a sense of “injustice”. She  said that “the company’s  first agreement with Brazil allowed it to continue bidding in all countries, ”

The former president of the National Bar Association Rubén Elías Rodríguez said that the breaker of the law is being rewarded, by allowing him to continue with the same activities that have led to sanctions and reproaches from both the Public Ministry and the citizenship.

“A person with common sense and with some criterion of public morality would not give a seen benefit  Other countries have excluded them from tenders with the State,” reports La Prensa.

On December 28, the Twelfth Criminal Court admitted a request from Odebrecht to certify that it is not disabled from contracts with the Panamanian State, based on the agreement signed by the company with the Anticorruption Prosecutor.



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