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Panama’s authorities oust prosecutors associated with corruption

Panama City, Jun 30 (Prensa Latina) A few hours earlier, the opening of the new Panamanian Government, the Public Prosecutor's Office ousted district attorneys raising suspicions on Saturday, experts revealed.

After 28 years of uninterrupted service, the first to leave his post was senior prosecutor Aurelio Vasquez, who led the process for the Blue Apple case, related to bribes paid by State contractors to officials from 2009 through 2014.

Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto, sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), recently sentenced to over ten years in prison for money laundering in the New Business process, but in asylum since February 7 in the Nicaraguan Embassy in Panama City, were implicated in that case.

In such case, the Martinelli brothers were ordered to take the competence to the plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice because they are sworn in as lawmakers of the Panamanian Parliament.

The decision is known just after Attorney Javier Caraballo dismissed senior prosecutors Zuleyka Moore and Adrecio Mojica, both with extensive experience in anti-corruption cases and who were part of the team that investigated the Odebrecht bribes, for which former Presidents Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) are being prosecuted.

That case has put the Panamanian judicial system to the test, generating questions about transparency and fairness in judicial processes.

“This ruling comes late, but is relevant because it exposes the flaws of a judicial system that often violates the rights of citizens,” Juan Carlos Arauz pointed out, who is former president of the National Council of Lawyers.

Arauz stressed the urgent need to reform the mixed inquisitorial model used in judicial processes that allow preconceptions and pressures that distort the administration of justice.

In addition to the Mossack Fonseca case, the recent dismissals of senior prosecutors have triggered concern and demands for transparency in public administration.

In that regard, Arauz indicated that the Prosecutor’s Office must clearly and publicly reveal the reasons behind these dismissals and the population deserves to know if these actions were the result of a malfunction or irregularities that compromise the credibility of the institutions.