- Prensa Órgano Judicial
A Court set the date of next July 4 for the preliminary hearing against Guillermo Ferrufino, Minister of Social Development in the Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) Government, and another 20 people for alleged embezzlement in the rental of helicopters, the Judicial Branch (OJ) reported.
According to a report of last December 27 of the Fifteenth Court, the alternate date for this preliminary hearing has been set for next August 6, according to a statement from the OJ.
These hearing dates are being notified to the parties, which include the 21 defendants, their private and substitute defense attorneys, which total 40 lawyers, and the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP).
Ferrufino and the other accused, including the former director of the National Aid Program (PAN) Rafael Guardia Jaén, are accused of the alleged commission of the crime against the public administration.
The Former Minister and Guardia are investigated for alleged embezzlement in the rent with extra costs of several helicopters that were hired to distribute food and humanitarian aid through the extinct PAN.
The PAN is a government agency involved in various corruption scandals re-baptized as the Social Assistance Directorate (DAS).
The OJ highlighted today that the "helicopter" case is one of the 15 processes related to the PAN that is coupled with the penalty agreement that was made in the process followed by Guardia Jaén for the case known as "grains and money laundering"and through which assets were returned, which was appealed by the MP.
"We must remember that within this agreement, the condition of Mr. Guardia Jaén was contemplated, that is, whether he would continue as a syndicate or witness in the other proceedings against him," the statement said.
The "helicopter" case has a total of 56 volumes with 33,636 pages.
Ferrufino, accused of the alleged commission of the crimes of unjustified enrichment, money laundering, embezzlement and corruption of officials, was released from prison on February 20, 2016 and currently, after serving house arrest, must present himself every fortnight before the Fifteenth Criminal Court.