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Pandeportes Scandal: Fepaba diverted funds for sports league linked to deputy Beby Valderrama

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  • Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:11
Fepaba
  • @BillyPinedaPA

A new corruption chapter opens up about the Pandeportes Scandal, knowing that the Panamanian Basketball Federation (Fepaba) has received a large amount of Money by the sports regulatory institute, but the sport goods, materials, food or human personnel that were paid for are not there.

According to the checks issued by the Comptroller, from July 2014 to May 2017, Fepaba received US$ 2.3 million, and Jair Peralta, its president, clarified that there were more than US$ 5 million managed with the "help" of Adolfo"Beby" Valderrama, an official deputy who was in charge of a parallel league,that is also illegal, according to the investigation published by the newspaper La Prensa de Panamá.

Different members of the gyms and schools where the basketball is taught were categorical when they indicated that they had not received not even a ball and that each time they request it, they end up receiving the backs of the politicians in response to the request, but then they arrive asking for votes.

Mario Pérez, director of Pandeportes, assured on November 1, 2018, that they would cooperate with everything related to the investigations in the case, however, in addition to exceeding the 30-day deadline for rendering accounts before the Transparency Law, he has not facilitated the investigative process delivering the different checks and payment orders that exceeded 50 or 100 thousand dollars each.

One of the businesses involved in these transactions is Dutary Sport, related to Franz Wever Guerra (the son of the Secretary General of the National Assembly), who would have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in sports items that none of those responsible received, while Fepaba executives indicate that in the past 4 years have been delivered about two thousand balls, including photos of the delivery. This same store appears in other disciplines and currently is investigated for having embezzled the state with almost two million dollars.

People like Vicente Duncan, member of the Federation of Coaches, indicated that those amounts are not even close to what happens, because in addition "there are no such leagues of development", referring to the provinces where there are supposedly this kind of leagues, such as San Miguelito, to arrive in this conclusion: "there are no district, provincial or development programs".

In the middle of the net of corruption, and according to investigations of the newspaper La Prensa of Panama, Adolfo "Beby" Valderrama would have appeared as mediator of a parallel professional league that would serve to encourage competition and leave a new space for sports growth, however this League does not have the necessary resources, nor does the pertinents statutes.

Under the name of Liga Profesional de Baloncesto SA, Beby Valderrama presides this project that despite not having the necessary to be considered even a minor league, receives without filters a great amount of resources from Pandeportes. It received 300 thousand dollars during the five years of Martinelli and now receives 5 million dollars, after the possibility of creating the Professional Basketball League (LPB).

*Graphics and pictures are originals from the newspaper La prensa of Panama and their investigations

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

 

Regarding its operation, Juan Carlos Arjona, executive secretary of Fepaba said that "it has nothing, it has no account. That company does not work for us", while Ulrich Ronner, also a director of Fepaba, indicated that" it is a triangulation", he said,"between the sponsor, Fepaba and the team. The owner makes a check to the Fepaba; Fepaba makes a check to the team [...] and puts the seals when they go to do the financial balances", since they do not have a legal entity.

Jair Peralta, also a director of Fepaba, said that Valderrama was a great help and now, without him "we are screwed", assuring that thanks to him they advanced a lot and that after retiring from the project, it is very hard to continue, because they don’t received the same attention.

Valderrama, in a telephone interview for La Prensa, assured that the society that is still active "does not exist, that was created but never worked. It's publicity, for interviews and press conferences, but it didn't function ... I was only a manager by phone, I never went to Pandeportes for this subject".

Pandeportes has allocated almost 90% of the funds to sports federations that are run by politicians or, failing that, have the participation of a person linked to this electoral activity, as La Prensa assured, who also recalled that "according to the Law 50 of 2007, Pandeportes is "subject to the guidance of the Executive Body". The Government increased its subsidy fund - from US$ 500 thousand in 2013 to US$ 14 million in 2015 - without real improvement for the sport".

Other names linked to this net of corruption are Benicio Robinson (PRD), Franz Wever Zaldívar (PRD), general secretary of the Assembly. In addition, Carlos Afú (Cambio Democrático), Miguel Salas (Panameñista), who have been in various activities with Fepaba, the Panamanian Football Federation (Fepafut) and the Panamanian Baseball Federation (Fedebeis), which between 2014 and 2017 have received 2.3 million dollars, 701 thousand dollars and 6.8 million dollars respectively, according to the investigation of La Prensa.

In the case of Fedebeis, San Miguelito and the Ngäbe Buglé region were the sectors used for the supposed donation of resources, as well as development programs and other types of activities, which, as in previous editions we extended, were not carried out by of politicians or regulatory bodies.

Spaces such as Veraguas, have children playing barefoot with dreams of wearing the shirt of Panama in a Caribbean Series or a World Baseball Classic, however, this was not limiting to take resources to other destinations and build one of the larger nets of corruption present in the Government of Juan Carlos Varela and the history of Panama itself, in which there were even detours of food with the known PAN benefit, granted by the Panamanian government.

 

Below the invoices and payments collected by and the interview of this medium to Beby Valderrama:

*Graphics and pictures are originals from the newspaper La prensa of Panama and their investigations
Foto de: Diario la Prensa

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

 

 

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

 

Foto de: Diario la Prensa

*Original Interview from the newspaper La prensa of Panama.

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