A group of citizens proposes to amend an article in the Code of Criminal Procedure, which seeks to include the “non-applicability” of criminal action due to impunity for investigations of corruption offenses by the Panamanian public administration.
"The Justice System in Panama is questioned, it does not seem that those accused or investigated for corruption cases are brought to justice, even when it is known that they have violated the Human Rights of the people who are part of the State," said Juan Vásquez, of the Association of Law Students of Universidad Santa María La Antigua.
Vásquez, based on a group that recently introduced before the Subcommittee on Government and Constitutional Affairs of the National Assembly draft bill 514, which amends article 116 not to prescribe corruption offenses, said that the purpose is to investigate those involved, regardless of the time that has elapsed.
"The society only wants to know if someone has embezzled the state funds, because they are responsible for the existence of slum schools and lack of medicine in the health centers of the country," he claimed.
This proposal adds that it will not prescribe criminal action in the case of crimes of embezzlement, corruption of public servants, unjustified enrichment, influence peddling, abuse of authority and violation of duties of public servants and fraud in acts of public contracting of Chapter X of the Criminal Code.
He explained that if an official commits a crime of corruption, from the first day of his functions, his limitation period initiates, in some cases the sentence is up to five years, and when they leave office, prosecution of the crime has been extinguished.
Concerning the reception of the bill, Vásquez said that in the introduction of the content, several Members of Parliament were distant, including they regarded the idea as unconstitutional to delay its discussion and approval.
The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) said this week during the first consultation debate of the bill, that it is not possible to include an issue of non-applicability in the legislation.
The president of the subcommittee responsible for discussing the project and deputy Quibian Panay highlighted that all approaches will be expanded and then they will draft the report that will be properly issued to the Government Commission to determine feasibility.