The vice president of the Parliament of Panama, opposition deputy Leandro Ávila, was accused by the Comptroller General, Federico Humbert, for alleged irregularities in the hiring of public money of his staff, the local press reported today.
The deputy, of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), became the fifth lawmaker accused of this same case after Jorge Alberto Rosas, of the ruling Panameñista Party; Felipe Vargas Partido, of the PRD; Marylín Vallarino and Aris de Icaza, both of Cambio Democrático (CD), according to local media.
Avila was accused before the Supreme Court of Justice because Panamanian law stipulates that deputies can only be prosecuted by the highest court, whose magistrates, in turn, can only be investigated and sanctioned by Parliament.
According to the local press, the deputy allegedly hired in 2015 and 2016 a woman who in turn worked as cleaning staff in the house of former Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso (1999-2004) in Boquete, a town 400 kilometers away to the west of the Panamanian capital.
The accusation against Ávila is framed within the scandal of the monthly items available to the deputies to hire their trusted staff and that in recent times have been subject to multiple controversies due to lack of transparency and alleged nepotism.
Ávila was accused of irregularities in the management of the "Payroll 172", although the other deputies were identified by anomalies in the "Payroll 080", a monthly item that was raised from 4,000 to 30,000 dollars for each lawmaker in 2014, shortly after the beginning of the current administration of President Juan Carlos Varela.