Bernal, Yet more Odebrecht impunity

bad guys' work
Expensive and often ill-advised public works projects, undertaken with overcharges and kickbacks built in, for the purpose making a few corrupt individuals rich. Graphic by Odebrecht.

Yet more impunity accords

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

There is still an absolute lack of determination on the part of the Panamanian authorities — mainly the Executive, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Comptroller’s Office — to proceed in the case of Odebrecht, that Brazilian mega-criminal enterprise.

This they maintain, mistakenly, with a growing lack of will and interest in the citizens’ inalienable right to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this scandal, which has done irreparable moral damage to our people, our national identity and our international standing.

It’s a notorious public fact that Odebrecht continues to operate with impunity in Panama, with the blessing and sponsorship of national provincial and municipal officials. Their overcharges and bribes have gone uninterrupted for the past 10 years, while the authorities, especially the Public Ministry, attempts to manipulate the citizenry with fallacies, falsehoods and deceptions.

They continue with this stuff about a “formal oral agreement” between the prosecutor’s office and the criminal conglomerate Odebrecht, in which they “agreed to agree” rather than to duly investigate and impose neither fines nor sanctions for the bribes and other crimes perpetrated. The Attorney General and the Comptroller General, with the prosecutors and auditors under them, happily trample on the Constitution, the anti-corruption treaties and our national dignity.

As I have been saying, bribe givers and bribe takers tread with impunity through our national territory, continue in the public and private positions, while to date Panamanian officials have undertaken all kinds of juggling acts and political and diplomatic maneuvers in Brazil and Washington with that aim of concealing what has been done in Panama.

And again I quote Professor Pizzurno: “Within this scenario those who denounce acts of corruption and demand justice are turned ipso facto into enemies of the state, political opportunists and despicable anti-patriots who end up socially discredited and expelled. This in a way so that, in order to avoid worse things and be turned into social pariahs, they opt for silence.”


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