Bernal, A criminal complaint

erstwhile friends
Back when they were friends: Ramón Fonseca Mora, left, is an attorney and writer and at the start of Juan Carlos Varela’s presidency was minister without portfolio and presidential chief of staff. Then came The Panama Papers, a massive leak of documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm, of which Fonseca was a founding partner. In the legal troubles that followed for Fonseca, Varela dismissed him and left him to his own devices, whereupon Fonseca alleged that Varela had taken millions from the hoodlum Brazilian company Odebrecht. Varela denied, but other witnesses and documents corroborated Fonseca’s story. Photo from the Varela campaign, way back when.

A citizens’ complaint

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

Using my rights as a citizen, along with attorney Sidney Sitton, we went before the Public Ministry as the law mandates, to file a complaint against Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, who for the last five years had served as President of the Republic of Panama.

The complaint is for the crimes of money laundering (Article 254 of the Penal Code); organize crime (Article 328-A of the Penal Code); conspiracy (Article 329 of the Penal Code); corruption of public officials (Article 345 of the Penal Code) and unjust enrichment while in public office (Article 351 of the Penal Code).

At the same time, we requested that judicial assistance be solicited from Brazil, China, the United States of America, Hong Kong and Switzerland, in order to determine and identify natural or legal persons with accounts or deposits linked or related to Odebrecht. There are many indications that link, to the former president Juan Carlos Varela, with Odebrecht and various companies under its dependence or domain.

We expressly asked the Public Ministry to order a ban on citizen Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez from leaving the country, and to formal begin proceedings against him. It’s a secret to nobody who loves Panama that various declarations, testimonies, documents, etc., tie the former president to a whole chain of illegal acts perpetrated, in Panama, by said Odebrecht and various employees of this company.

As our Basis of Law we have invoked Law 11 of March 31, 2015 (Gaceta Oficial No. 27752 of April 1, 2015, the Penal Code and corresponding laws such as the International Conventions against Corruption of the UN and the OAS.

A few hours after the filing of the complaint, the Secretary of the Attorney General’s Office, Rolando Rodríguez, made public statements that denote inexcusable ignorance of and disloyalty to the law, by making disqualifying remarks against the complaint on television, playing an open role as a coverer and protector of the denounced. His performance confirms, once again, what public opinion shouts out loud: the Public Ministry is not at the service of the Constitution and Law, nor of citizens’ interests.

The time has come to demand clear accountability from Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez and his front men. Jail for the corrupt! No to impunity!


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