Lawyer and former Panamanian Ambassador Guillermo Cochez filed today before the Supreme Court of Justice a writ of habeas data against Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and urged that he be fined for not providing information on "almost 500 million dollars" recovered from cases of corruption.
Cochez, former Ambassador of Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS), explained at the doors of the Supreme Court that Varela said at the last Summit of the Americas held in Peru that his Government has recovered "a nearly 500-million-dollar estate".
Given this statement, the lawyer sent a letter on April 16 to the Panamanian president asking him to detail the cases in which they had recovered almost 500 million dollars, because in the media there is talk of less than 100 million.
"The information from the media indicates that not even 100 million dollars have been collected for the cases of recovery of assets due to corruption; I do not know why the president lies so often, (...) he must have the bases to support what he talks about," said the complainant.
He explained that his letter was answered on May 14 by the Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán, who stated that the information supporting the figure noted by Varela was requested from the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office.
"I asked the question of the information to President Varela, not the president of the Court, or the prosecutor; for that reason, for me the letter was not answered, so I filed the action according to Law 6 of 2002 ", of Transparency and Access to Information, said Cochez.
He said that with his action he asks the Supreme Court "not only to declare the president in contempt, but to impose the fine provided by such Law if the official fails to deliver the information requested within 30 days".
Article 20 of the Transparency Law states that "the official required by the Court that knows the writ of habeas data, who fails to comply with the obligation to provide the information, shall incur contempt and shall be punished with a minimum fine equivalent to twice the monthly salary he earns".
"It is our duty to demand transparency, and demand accountability and to be told the truth, a simple thing so as not to be telling lies," Cochez said before handing over the documentation to the Supreme Court.