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Marcelo Odebrecht’s statements pressures Varela’s government investigations

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PANAMA CITY .- The headquarters of the National Bar Association of Panama was the setting for the statements of a group of citizens of diverse political tendencies and relevant career concerning the advances of the investigations in the country on the corruption scandal of the company Odebrecht.

The communiqué issued to the media urged "the President of the Republic to request the government of Brazil the information on the plea bargains of the investigations"; and also if there is an official in exercise “involved in the above-mentioned scandals, regardless of his position – either by popular election or designation - immediately resigns or is separated, according to constitutional and legal rules.” This would include President Juan Carlos Varela, if his name comes to light in the next exchange of information between Brazil and Peru.

At a press conference, several of the signatories argued that it is no longer a question of asking for speed in the investigations, but of rejecting the extreme secrecy that has prevailed in Panama on the subject; to the point that all the information that has become known comes from abroad. This could be considered as an attempt by"the authorities of the Public Ministry and the Judicial Branch to cover up any person mentioned in Odebrecht's allegations, claiming unacceptable legalisms".

They are very concerned about the fact that, when something is revealed, only the irregularities that occurred during Ricardo Martinelli’s government are revealed. Therefore, they also demand that "the audits carried out by the Comptroller General of the Republic include all the multimillion-dollar works built in the last three governments." This particular point is considered key so that the Panamanian State can in the future recover the patrimony lost in bribes and surcharges. They also consider vital "speeding up the highest level of government extradition of the investigated", beginning with former President Ricardo Martinelli and the"immediate approval of a new Public Procurement Law."

This new citizen reaction comes after Brazilian prosecutor Orlando Martello said that as of June 1, Peruvian authorities will be able to access the confessions of Marcelo Odebrecht and other executives of the construction company that took advantage of the plea bargain.

To see the document (download here)

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