Panamanian Supreme rejects Comptroller’s claim against Parliament president

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  • Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:20
Yanibel Abrego
  • Yanibel Ábrego, Presidenta de la Asamblea Nacional de Panamá - EFE

The Panamanian Supreme Court ruled on June 7 not to admit due to lack of evidence a criminal complaint filed by the Comptroller of Panama, Federico Humbert, against the president of the National Assembly, Yanibel Ábrego, for an infraction to a controversial payroll of the
Legislative Body.

A judicial source told Acan-Efe that the matter was addressed today at the plenary meeting of nine justices of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

Seven out of the nine magistrates that make up the plenary, voted in favor of not admitting the lawsuit, including them Oydén Ortega, who was the speaker; Abel Zamorano, Ángela Russo, José Ayú Prado, Cecilio Cedalise, Efrén Tello and Jerónimo Mejía.

Magistrate Harry Díaz saved his vote, while Secundino Mendieta, who participated in the plenary meeting as alternate for Judge Hernán De León, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, abstained from casting his vote on the criminal complaint of the Comptroller,
according to local media.

Humbert refused to comment on the admission of his complaint against Ábrego, claiming that he still did not know about the resolution issued by the magistrates.

On January 15, the Comptroller filed a complaint against the President of the Parliament for the alleged commission of the offense against the Public Administration, accusing her of stopping the audit to controversial payroll 080 for the hiring of deputies that was going to be conducted by its auditors.

The Comptroller said on Wednesday that he would repeat "all the legal arguments to obtain the power to review and present to the citizens and the corresponding authorities, a detailed report on how those funds were handled".

"Ladies and gentlemen, the old proverb says that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, then I am surprised by the insistence to avoid that the Nation - not the Comptroller, the Nation – can know how the funds are handled, which belong to all Panamanians," he added.

However, Humbert said he will wait for the Supreme Court to issue its ruling on the warranties submitted by the president of the AN against the audit at age 080, to see if it can actually enter or continue the audit process requested".

Humbert announced yesterday that he suspended the total payment of the 080 nomination after claiming that his technical team of auditors was evicted on Wednesday by the security officials of the National Assembly and its papers and files that were withdrawn, which
Parliament denied.

On May 16, the Supreme Court admitted the aforementioned protection of constitutional warraties submitted by Ábrego against the resolution of the Comptroller's Office ordering the audit of Law 080.

The Office of the Comptroller wants to audit the so-called "Form 080", a monthly item available to deputies to hire their trusted staff and that in recent times has been subject to multiple controversies due to lack of transparency and alleged nepotism.

The item was raised from $ 4,000 to $ 30,000 for each legislator in 2014, just at the beginning of the current administration of President Juan Carlos Varela.

The Parliament published last month information on the more than 3,000 people allegedly hired by the 71 deputies, but some sectors considered it insufficient due to lack of specific details. 


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