Jump to content

Comptroller's Audits of Community Boards and Muncipalities Likely to Result in 186 Criminal Prosecutions

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators

Prosecutions likely following 186 civic audits

220 BOXES - Busy time ahead for prosecutors
Post Views: 125
THE RESULTS of three and a half years 186 audits of communal boards and municipalities by the Comptroller General were delivered to the Public Prosecutor in a truck carrying 220, numbered boxes on Tuesday, February 27 and prosecutions are likely to follow.

Attorney General Kenia Porcell received the documents delivered personally by the Comptroller Federico Humbert. They then spent an hour together.

Humbert said that the information delivered to the PGN has “the weight and structure” necessary to open judicial processes, in case there is a mismanagement of public funds. The Prosecutor will have to evaluate them “to proceed when they deem necessary” and open criminal proceedings or send them to the Supreme Court of Justice if there is any connection with deputies. The 186 audits are related to the funds that the deputies handled through the communal boards and municipalities.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Comptroller's Audits of Community Boards and Muncipalities Likely to Result in 186 Criminal Prosecutions
  • Moderators

OPINION: Deputies embezzling, money laundering

Will they cooperate?
Post Views: 132
In the history of the Comptroller  General’s Office, there had not been an audit as comprehensive and complete as the one that was delivered to the Public Ministry yesterday. The findings are disgusting. Dozens of community councils lent themselves to launder millions of dollars of our taxes, for the benefit of the reelection of deputies of all political parties. There are presumed crimes such as embezzlement, unjustified enrichment, money laundering

the falsity of documents and others that will require a complex investigation on the part of the prosecutors and magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice. This is a case that cannot go unpunished. The Public Prosecutor’s Office needs economic resources and the updating of criminal and procedural legislation to fulfil its mission. The National Assembly has the key to the funds and of legislative changes. Ladies and gentlemen, show that you have a glimmer of respect for the Fatherland and let that investigation be possible … La Prensa. Hoyporhoy, Feb 28.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

National Assembly “a rotten organ”

Post Views: 111
FORMER Panama Comptroller José Chen Barría speaking on TVN News, on Wednesday, February 28  that the audits carried out by the Comptroller’s Office of 186 communal boards and municipalities of the country reveal a “Corruption scheme worse than Odebrecht.”

The current comptroller Federico Humbert delivered the audits to the Attorney General in a truck carrying 220 boxes the Public Ministry the audits related to $319 million to community boards and municipalities, of which $247 million were managed by 70 deputies, in the period 2009 to 2014.

“It’s a corruption scheme as big as or worse than Odebrecht. The poorest community councils in the country Were robbed by   a system of corruption that involves the Assembly, “Chen Barría said.

“The body called the National Assembly of Deputies is a rotten organ,” he concluded.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Biggest Panama Audit Reveals Multi-million Assembly Rip-offs

FEDERICO HUMBERT, left, calls for justice
Post Views: 159
PANAMA has been rocked by the latest corruption revelations, with hundreds of millions of dollars disappearing into local sinkholes via deputies of the National Assembly.

All parties were involved, but deputies of the  Cambio Democratico  Party (CD) created and led by Ricardo Martinelli to further his political ambitions were the major looters during his term (2009-2014). The amount involved is bigger than the bribes paid by Odebrecht to government officials during the same period.

The Nation’s comptroller Federico Humbert confirmed what was denounced after the 2014 elections: the irregular management of multi-millions of funds transferred to communal boards and municipalities of, with the purpose of avoiding controls and often using them, , for political ends.

At a  Tuesday, February 27 press conference, Humbert reported that his office audited the handling of $247 million transferred by deputies to community boards between 2009 and 2014. “We have wide doubts that the monies delivered have reached the real beneficiaries”, he said.

He said the auditors found false invoices, altered documents and even handed out $20 million without any support.

They also found $50 million from transactions that did not have a fiscal invoice.


LAPRENSA Cartoonist Low’s take on the Comptroller’s delivery of the audit files to Attorney General, Kenia Porcell

Earlier in the day, Humbert delivered the audits to the National Prosecutor, Kenia Porcell in 220 boxes

The case will be analyzed by the Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will request the Fifth Criminal Court to reopen the case, which was filed in 2015 on a provisional basis, pending the audits.

Call for justice
“In this country, there has to be justice,” said  Humbert, in revealing details of  186 audits conducted in communal boards and municipalities through which the deputies of the period 2009-2014 managed their constituency deals.

Humbert said that in the audits, the largest ever in the country, were irregularities, such as a single beneficiary who received more than half a million dollars in financial assistance.

He also quoted a company to which six checks for $14,900 each were deposited in a single day, and made reference to false invoices and in some cases with the date of presentation prior to printing; as well as forged documents, among other anomalies.

He said $319 million was audited, and almost 300,000 accounting transactions were verified.

A  total of $ 247 million was allocated to the deputies of the previous period and those who transferred funds to the communal boards for alleged economic aid, delivery of food bags, purchase of musical instruments, repairs, among other assignments

Humbert revealed that 34 deputies from the CD handled $158.8 million; 7 of the Molirena, $36.2 million; and 18 of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) received $34.7 million.

Another 10 deputies from the Panameñista Party got  $17.1 million and a Popular Party deputy handled $492,000.

“Almost all of them moved money and managed it through the communal boards and municipalities,” said Humbert, who pointed out that there are also current deputies from the National Assembly who were re-elected in the 2014 elections. “We have ample doubts that the monies delivered have reached the true beneficiaries, “he warned.

Secret Code
He explained that the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) identified each deputy with an alphanumeric code, which was deciphered by the auditors.

He said that the communal boards charged a commission of 10% of the amount handled and the rest, 90%, was available to the deputy to manage it as he felt fit.

“We found false invoices, altered documents, we found many things about the way officials worked,” he said, adding that for at least $20 million no documents existed to support the transactions. “We found $50 millions of transactions that did not have a fiscal invoice,” he added.

The information has been sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for criminal investigation, but it will also be taken to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and to the General Revenue Office, so that patrimonial and tax liabilities against the State can be determined, reports La Prensa.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I guess the government needs to construct a condominium jail facility where they can house these crooks along with Martinelli .   Seems like the crooks always get the sweet suite somewhere, whether it be private house ( Martinelli) or a penthouse room at one of the finest hospitals in Panama City....for years !  Then they get set loose.  

Edited by Brundageba
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Brundageba said:

Well I guess the government needs to construct a condominium jail facility where they can house these crooks along with Martinelli .   Seems like the crooks always get the sweet suite somewhere, whether it be private house ( Martinelli) or a penthouse room at one of the finest hospitals in Panama City....for years !  Then they get set loose.  

Put them all in Trump Tower and weld the doors shut. That would solve two prolems.

Edited by BD
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Uncle Doug said:

This audit covers only the Martinelli years.  Is there any reason to think this corruption and theft ended in 2014?

Well, I remember when the Controller attempted to oversee the pot but was rejected by the current troughers. I will look for reports concerning that series of events.

Consequently members of this Assembly may be more prudent ..or creative.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Public  Funds Used To Buy Voters

carlos afu.jpg 
CARLOS AFU got over over $4 million
Post Views: 129
AN  INVESTIGATION  by La Prensa into multi-millions of tax-payer dollars used in elections led to the 3 ½ year audit of 186  communal boards where deputies skimmed off millions through a network – with the endorsement of the now deceased comptroller, Gioconda de Bianchini (died2016) a long time employee of Ricardo Martinelli.

They bought thousands of appliances delivered to their constituents, to secure re-election in May 2014.

The Attorney General’s Office initiated an investigation and requested an audit, the results of which were delivered Tuesday by the comptroller Federico  Humbert.

Leaders of organized civil society are demanding that all those involved are held accountable for the public monies they used.


LA PRENSA cartoonist’s take on the election cornucopia

A Decree signed by Comptroller  Torres de Bianchini was the key that opened the tap for the waste of multi-millions of public funds, which were transferred by the deputies to the communal boards across the country.

A publication by La Prensa in February 2013 uncovered the document, which was never published in the Official Gazette, in order to keep secret the modus operandi of the deputies of the five-year period 2009-2014 managing funds that were not in the  State general budget.

In spite of unconstitutionality accusations that followed.  deputies in rural communities requested the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to transfer funds, which were handled discreetly and without control.

The Boards received millions of dollars managed by the deputies – supposedly – for social works and public infrastructure.

The funds were diverted by the deputies to their constituencies and then spent on proselytizing campaigns reports  La Prensa.

They bought appliances, food bags and articles that they gave to their constituents, in their eagerness to be reelected in May 2014. Half (39) succeeded, and still sit in the Assembly

InThe Municipality of Río de Jesús, the deputies deposited $8.2 million  The Playa Leona Community Board received $6 million.

The  local mayor, Humberto Sánchez, told La Prensa that the deputies asked him for help in the management of their games because he was “expert” in producing reports that “resisted audits”.

The reelected CD deputies Carlos Afú (who handled $1 million) and Nouriel Salerno ($2 million) got the most money transferred to Rio de Jesus.

Afú, who is a deputy from Las Tablas, and Salerno, from Aguadulce, were re-elected, but their triumphs were challenged by allegations of -precisely- campaigning with public funds.

The Electoral Tribunal (TE) verified that the allegations were true, and  The TE considered that Afú violated the freedom and honesty of popular suffrage having at his disposal $4.9 million of state funds for his campaign.

Salerno,  received $1, 562,331, which influenced the “purchase of voters” in (Aguadulce).

For the same reasons, the elections on circuits 4-1 and 9-2 were also canceled in which Miguel Fanovich -who handled $2.9 million- and Hector Aparicio participated.

Lina Vega Abad, president of the Panamanian chapter of Transparency International,  said the audits provide long-awaited information, although for some cases, such as crimes that would have been committed for the 2014 elections, are late. But she said that there are still several ways for those involved to be held accountable.

Annette Planells, of the Independent Movement, pointed out that audits are a challenge for the Public Ministry, which must invest human and financial resources to determine responsibilities,  to give the Supreme Court the elements of conviction – if they find evidence against deputies – and request a trial for those responsible.

Meanwhile, Juan Diego Vásquez, of the Youth Network for Transparency, said that “the deputies should be accountable to the country … The Comptroller must act through the courts and they must be brought to trial when there is a property injury “.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Plundering lawmakers destined for court hearings

The incriminating evidence
Post Views: 131
THE CORRUPTION investigation of lawmakers who used millions of public funds to get re-elected will be re-opened and cases against sitting deputies will be destined for the Supreme Court.

The Public Ministry (MP) will ask the Fifth Criminal Court the continue the investigation about alleged irregularities that was suspended pending 186 audits of communal boards and municipalities.

The audits were delivered to the MP by the Comptroller Federico Humbert, on Tuesday, Feb 27.

They show 70 deputies from the 2009-2014 period – of which 39 were re-elected in May 2014- transferred $247 million to the boards and municipalities.

The Public Ministry (MP) will refer the  cases  of serving deputies to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

The audits showed that 34 deputies of Democratic Change CD) handled $ 158.8 million; 7 of the Molirena, $36.2 million, and 10 of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) received $34.7 million. In addition, 10 deputies of the Panameñista Party benefited with $17.1 million and a Deputy of the Popular Party got $492,000.

Humbert enumerated irregularities detected in the audits, such as false invoices and lack of documents to support millions of dollars in transactions.

The audits will be sent to an Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and additional investigations will be carried out if required.

If linkages arise with deputies of the National Assembly, they will be sent to the CSJ.

By constitutional mandate, the CSJ hears criminal cases against the members of the National Assembly.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Prosecution team in line for election scam probe

CD DEPUTY, Carlos Tito-Afu said to have spent over $4 million of State funds
Post Views: 98
PANAMA’S   Public Ministry (MP) has made its first moves to tackle the 220 boxes of files that arrived on its doorstep on Tuesday of last week containing evidence of malfeasance by a group of candidates from all parties in the 2014 elections.
The Ministry headed by Attorney General Kenia Porcell announced Sunday, March 4 that it will restructure a specialized work team to review the 186 audits of communal boards and municipalities, which revealed a corruption scheme and the irregular handling of millions of dollars.

In a series of messages on Twitter, the MP  Said that the unit will be made up of prosecutors, specialists in finance, auditors and accountants.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

CHALLENGE: Speedy justice for politicians

HANDS UP all who want impunity
Post Views: 90
The Public Ministry (MP) presented its institutional response to take responsibility for the criminal investigation derived from the 186 audits, carried out by the Office of the Comptroller General pertinent to the use of community boards, as a distribution mechanism for Public funds managed by deputies in the last government. The MP will assign 22 prosecutors to this task that depends, in the first instance, that judge Enrique Paniza declares this investigation as complex. In turn, in the coming weeks and months, the Supreme Court should prepare to assume the investigative task of those re-elected deputies who may be suspected of mismanagement. It sounds very easy to say all of the above, but the institutions of justice face the greatest challenge in their history.

This can not be underestimated, nor can it be ignored that, in less than two months, we start the electoral period. We remain hopeful that prosecutors, judges and magistrates act with diligence and integrity. The country needs justice and the eradication of impunity of the political class. LA PRENSA,  hoyporhoy Mar.6



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Moderators

Comptroller hits back  as deputies try to dodge court hearings

Federico Humbert
Post Views: 133
Audits are not an option but a duty said Panama’s Comptroller, Federico Humbert on Thursday, March 15 reacting  to deputies facing investigation, of suspected mismanagement of public funds during the 2014 election.

The Comptroller audited the country’s communal boards and found a possible patrimonial injury for $319 million. In his investigation, he concluded that all the deputies of the National Assembly in the five-year period 2009-2014 moved money and managed it through the communal boards and municipalities.

A group of re-elected lawmakers has filed interventions to try to block criminal probes after the audit. “What we present has clear indications that the funds were mishandled. I am surprised that an appeal for an audit so well done is filed. As far as my team is concerned, we have acted protected in what the law obliges us,” said  Humbert

He added that if the auditors  have to defend themselves they will do it, “because their work is well done and ‘the Comptroller does not work on a pressure basis, but on what the citizenship demands.”

Deputy  Ana Matilde Gómez, former Attorney General and member of the  Assembly Credentials Commission said that an Amparo always seeks to stop an act.  In her opinion, the Comptroller’s Office does have the right to do the investigation. “I understand that the comptroller did audit the community boards, so I do not see the validity of the Amparo, although it will be the Court that will have to settle on that. A deputy is not the one who determines the validity of an act or its legality, ” she said.

Former Comptroller  José Chen Barría said “The Constitution authorizes the comptroller to carry out investigations where it considers necessary to preserve the State’s resources. Neither the president nor the magistrates or the deputies are above the Law and cannot be exempt from the eye of the Comptroller if they handled public funds.”.

According to his analysis, a dual investigation must be carried out: in what corresponds to the representatives of corregimiento or communal boards, they should be investigated by the ordinary courts and the Public Ministry. In this sense, there should be 186 investigations and an equal number of processes. On the other hand, the  Supreme Court must deal with the deputies.

Meanwhile the president of the Assembly, Yanibel Ábrego,  who was among those filing an Amparo,  on Wednesday. withdrew it   the next day



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Lawmakers back down on audit petitions

Delivery of 220 boxes of audits
Post Views: 99
EIGHT lawmakers who rushed to file petitions in the Supreme Court o disqualify the audits by the Comptroller General  Office of communal and municipal boards have had a change of heart and withdrawn their appeals, amidst widespread civil condemnation.

Judicial Branch sources have told La Prensa that the withdrawals are in the office of Judge  Angela Russo, rapporteur for the amparo. The information was confirmed by  Democratic Change (CD)  deputy and president of the National Assembly, Yanibel Ábrego, who had presented one of the amparos.

The Office of the Comptroller delivered to the Public Ministry the results of the audits of 186 communes and municipalities that managed public funds, following instructions from deputies from the 2009-2014 period.

With these reports, the Public Ministry requested the reopening of the investigation. Ábrego filed the appeal with the Court within a week, along with her  CD  co-defendants Mario Miller, Jackson Palma, Héctor Aparicio and Salvador Real; Benicio  Robinson PRD and Crispiano Adames, and the  Molirena deputy of Miguel Fanovich. Later, deputies Noriel Salerno and Vidal García, from CD, also filed amparos.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
  • Moderators

Prosecutors get year for Assembly-linked probe


Boxes of audited board files delivered to the prosecutor by Comptroller

Posted 01/03/2019
Panama’s Attorney General will have a year to complete an investigation of alleged scams by community boards linked to lawmakers.

The Fifth Criminal Court declared  that the case of alleged irregularities in the boards is qualified as complex

In the ruling on of this Wednesday, February 27the fifth criminal judge, Enrique Paniza, admitted the request of the Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office.

Paniza indicated that the prosecutor's request "complies with the requirements established in accordance with Law No. 121 of December 31, 2013. In addition, the complex processing procedure is applied."

The anti-corruption prosecutor Adecio Mojica, has already ordered the investigation of 18 people, allegedly linked to irregularities in transfers made to communal boards between 2009 and 2014, from funds assigned by the Ministry of Finance to deputies.

On August 3, 2018,  .following  an audit by the Comptroller General the Fifth Criminal Court ordered the reopening of the process for 29 community boards in corresponding to Panama province



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Panama’s laundering politicians


TRUCKLOAD of suspected corruption files

Posted 02/03/2019
Panama is a country in which new scandals cover the old ones. Given the slowness of the judicial system and the limited audit and oversight capacity of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, it is very easy for corruption investigations to be forgotten. That is why we must celebrate the fact that the Public Prosecutor's Office has continued with the pertinent investigation into the misuse of public funds through the communal boards of almost the entire country, investigations that -except to those of the province of Panama- will continue under the system accusatory criminal. This good news allows citizens to have hope for faster justice and, therefore, The entire dark plot that made the most humble communal councils in the country into bastions of money laundering for politicians of all sides was clarified promptly, as long as they accepted the tricks of the past government. High-profile cases of corruption, such as that of community boards, face a race against time, since unfortunately it is very possible that the change of government in the coming months represents a modification of the priorities in the fight against corruption. It is thus, then, that we Panamanians must demand from all the participants in the electoral contest, that the investigations and audits continue, and that more resources be assigned to the institutions of justice. like the one of the communal boards, they face a race against the time, since unfortunately it is very possible that the change of government in the coming months represents a modification of the priorities in the fight against corruption. It is thus, then, that we Panamanians must demand from all the participants in the electoral contest, that the investigations and audits continue, and that more resources be assigned to the institutions of justice.- LA PRENSA, Mar


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • Moderators

368 probed in communal boards $25 million scam



Posted 29/07/2019

Some368  people, including lawmakers, are under investigation for possible embezzlement for diversion of funds allocated to community boards.

Anticorruption prosecutor, Adecio Mojica said the investigation began in 2014 and after preliminary probes, an audit report was requested from the Comptroller General which was delivered in March 2018.

As the case received a provisional dismissal, a reopening of the case was requested, as the Comptroller's audit report revealed an injury nationwide of over $25 million.

In the investigations, it was established that the modus operandi to commit the illicit use of transfers from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), through the National Budget Directorate to 186 Communal Boards.

According to the prosecutor, the transfers had a primary purpose, to provide assistance to people with limited resources, but in practice that did not apply. Services that were not provided were contracted, records were not provided to justify the use of the money and this was repeated in many  Boards.

He also mentioned that in many cases assistance was requested for food, school supplies,  and medical services, but in almost none of the cases is there documentary evidence showing the money was well used.

In of Bocas del Toro, it has been determined that there was a scam of over  $5 million for assistance purposes that did not occur.  

So far, nationwide there are more than 40 defendants The file is paralyzed because the Second Court is expected to resolve appeals of an order, issued by the Fifth judge in which the complex case was granted. In other words, the prosecutor was given an additional year to continue investigating.

The main fact, according to the prosecutor is the bad administration of public flows. The transfers that were made to the communal boards. The law states that transfers must be through MEF and Municipalities. The municipalities remit money to the communal boards. In the cases under investigation, the funds went directly to the Communal Boards.

No office
Inspections in remote places showed there are boards without  an office, but they did have an account with a large amount of money that should be used for the benefit of the community but was used or other things stayed or returned to Panama

In the investigation, the audit report does not relate to deputies, but it shows that each communal board had an alphanumeric code, linked to a deputy They will be subjected to investigation because they were participants in the embezzlement.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Communal Boards Corruption - 368 probed in communal boards $25 million scam
  • 2 months later...
  • Moderators

Prosecutors following $247 million trail to local boards


Files arriving at prosecutor's office

Posted 27/10/2019

Panama’s  Public Ministry, through an anti-corruption prosecutor's office, is working on  200 cases related to possible irregularities in the management of public funds in communal meetings from  2009-2014.

The spotlight is currently on the communal boards of the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Coclé, Los Santos, Herrera, Chiriquí, and Veraguas.

All these processes are expedited under the norms of the accusatory criminal system (SPA) reports La Prensa.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Javier Miter Burgos, for example, from his office in Veraguas, has interviewed former officials and officials of the communal boards and has conducted eye inspections, and requested documentation from local governments under scrutiny, and has requested information from different banks in the country. So far no one has been charged

To file charges, the prosecution must present the evidence before a guarantees judge.

In February 2018, Comptroller  Federico Humbert revealed at a press conference that $247 million were transferred by deputies to different communal boards between 2009 and 2014. At that time he said he had "wide doubts that the money delivered has reached the real beneficiaries."



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
  • Moderators

Ex-lawmaker facing $3 million embezzlentc harges


Posted 28/12/2019

A  former  legislator who switched parties at a time when it was alleged that bags of money were changing hands in the National Assembly in  return for allegiance to Democratic Change (CD), has been charged with embezzlement  linked to $3 million drawn from the Assembly for community projects

Absalón Herrera was charged with alleged falsehood and embezzlement in the case of irregularities in the forms of the Assembly and has been placed under country arrest and must report each month.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...