RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office asked this Wednesday to call to trial nine people, including a minister, for the case “Renovation of Historical Heritage”, a million-dollar development of Odebrecht with an alleged overpricing tendered under the Government of Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014).
Of the nine people that the Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office is asking to prosecute, “there are 6 civil servants, who served as Minister, Director of Contract Administration and the Evaluation Commission”, highlights a note from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP).
Additionally, there were 3 other individuals, who acted as “intermediaries and representatives of companies that were contracted for the fixing of reference prices and advice to the evaluation commission”, detailed the Prosecutor’s Office.
After finalizing the fiscal hearing, which consists of 32 volumes, and forwarding it to the Judiciary, the Prosecutor’s Office requests to call these persons to trial “for the alleged commission of the crime against the Public Administration, in the modality of Fraudulent Embezzlement and Corruption of Public Officials” for which there is a penalty of up to 15 years of imprisonment.
The investigations of the Public Prosecutor’s Office determined that “all the bidding companies agreed to make the construction company win the bid” and that “it was the winning construction company (Odebrecht) that prepared the bidding documents to the Ministry of Public Works on which the bidding was based”.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the project started in 2011 had an overprice of US$51,496,740, although in 2017, the Comptroller’s Office stipulated a cost overrun of US$51.5 million.
The Brazilian construction company won the tender for the project called Preservation of the Historical Heritage of Panama City to renovate the Cincuentenario road, one of the capital’s main arteries, near the ruins of Panama Viejo, the first European settlement in the Pacific of America.
For the Odebrecht case in Panama, the Prosecutor’s Office asked to call 50 people to trial, among them former presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), according to local media leaks.
Varela is charged and has been banned from leaving the country since July 2020 for alleged money laundering linked to Odebrecht and received during the political campaigns of 2009 and 2014, accusations he denies.
Former President Martinelli is charged with money laundering and has been banned from leaving the country since August 2020 for the Odebrecht case. His sons Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares have also been summoned to trial in Panama.