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Accusations of " Functional overreaching and embezzlement "of the Executive in the panamanian justice

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  • Thu, 10/04/2018 - 19:29
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After the publications made by La Estrella de Panamá newspaper about the participation of an external consultant lawyer who would have misappropriated the functions of the Attorney General's Office to collect criminal case files, oriented from the Executive Body, lawyers, Willy Cochez and Sidney Sittón give their opinions about the scandal.

"It has served to confirm what many of us thought that the investigations, in some selective cases, were not made in the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) or were initiated in another instance other than the MP. This is very serious, due to the interference of lawyers outside the MP, by the interference of the National Security Council (CNS) which is not for that and the acceptance of the President of the Republic to sponsor this type of contracting outside the MP", said the lawyer and former Ambassador of Panama in the Organization of American States (OAS), Guillermo Cochez.

Lawyer Sidney Sittón explains why this act would be in violation of the Political Constitution of Panama: "The functions of the Attorney General are non-delegable, are assigned by the Constitution and the Law. An administrative contract could not delegate this function to a particular person. There is a crime committed by the President of the Republic that is called the crime of executive functional overreaching but there is also another crime that is the crime against public administration,is called embezzlement. Remember that the contract talks about what was paid: approximately $ 400 thousand."

This fact could have consequences in the cases that have been handled through the law firm Saltarín, Arias y Asociados.

"Everything that hinders justice can be used by lawyers who do not want their clients to be convicted," said Cochez.

"Those people in any case would have to promote review processes. They can review their causes if it is proven that any of the evidence was planted, manufactured, manipulated. If they manage to demonstrate that, surely these causes will be reviewed," explained Sittón.

According to Cochez, this fact is a demonstration of the non-separation of powers that exists in Panama, "Juan Carlos Varela
has deepened that no separation of powers." He also believes that the crisis of justice is clear, "it is a crisis that the country lives in all its dimension, not only the Judicial, in the Legislative the corruption that exists among the deputies, in the Executive the interference that exists in the other powers of the State. They are taking us to scenarios similar to those that Nicaragua and Venezuela had before they had the chaos they have today."

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