More on the Impunity Accords
by Miguel Antonio Bernal
The Panamanian authorities’ publicized decision to arrive at a pact wherein they “agree to agree” with the Brazilian criminal conglomerate Odebrecht, at the same time “complaining” against them has been a moral — and also mortal — heart attack.
Odebrecht’s ever-skilled bribery gangsters, who continue to operate with impunity in Panama, have managed to strengthen their tentacles to come out of this indemnified. In recent weeks they have incessantly lobbied and and come to new accommodations, now with Law 4 (formerly Bill 245), which is extremely useful to favor, protect and reward those who pay and those who take bribes.
For the time being in Panama, they have managed to achieve:
1. no action taken here against the company’s property;
2. the preservation of “their existence and continuity of activities;”
3. an understanding that “the buyers of assets of the company are not liable for unlawful acts practiced in the past;”
4. the suspension of all “restrictions on registrations” and / or blocking of assets;
5. the expectation that the “Formal Verbal Agreement” with the Procuraduria will become a non-disclosure agreement, in exchange for “a few million more” of the $59 million offered.
Contrary to what happened in the Dominican Republic, where a judge declared an agreement between their prosecutors and Odebrecht “inadmissible,” in Panama legislators, judges and high court magistrates maintain their silence while all kinds of efforts a deployed to sedate the citizenry, little by little, until they forget about Odebrecht.
Perhaps because of this, in none of the works that continue to run thanks to the overprices and the kickbacks, neither the name nor the logo of the Brazilian company are shown. Thus those who do not see and do not hear, do not understand. They forget faster and better.
The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, far from auditing and investigating as it should, says it it will rely on the audits that the Comptroller General’s Office will make of 11 projects carried out by Odebrecht. The Comptroller says that it has no staff for this and that it “will only evaluate” some.
The nearly $10 billion spent on Odebrecht contracts represent, conservatively, a billion dollars in bribes. Where, and in whose hands, is this money?
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