aqlogo_white X
Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Countries   |   About    |   Subscribe   |   Newsletter |   Videos
aqlogo_white

Banner Ad
Banner Ad
Blog

Panamanian Supreme Court Approves Corruption Inquiry against Martinelli

Panama’s Supreme Court voted unanimously on Wednesday to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate corruption claims against former president Ricardo Martinelli.

Martinelli has been accused by his erstwhile political ally and former head of the Programa de Ayuda Nacional  (National Assistance Program—PAN), Giacomo Tamburelli, of ordering the inflation of government contracts worth $45 million for  the purchase of dehydrated food.  Tamburelli, who is under house arrest, said Martinelli had ordered him to inflate contracts while he was head of PAN.

Meanwhile, Martinelli—who was attending a session of the Parlamento Centroamericano (Central American Parliament—Parlacen) in Guatemala—denied any wrong-doing. “I have not done anything,” he said.

As a member of Parlacen, Martinelli is invested with diplomatic immunity. According to the Spanish daily El País, members of Panama’s National Assembly have called on Martinelli to renounce his immunity. The current president, Juan Carlos Varela, a former ally of Martinelli who broke with the ex-president and accused the administration of corruption before running for the presidency on a strong anti-corruption message, said, “An ex-president must face justice and be held accountable if he didn’t do things right. […] I am a person who respects democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, and everyone is responsible for their actions. I’ll answer for mine; let the ex-president answer for his.”

Martinelli has not said whether or not he will relinquish immunity or return to Panama. “I will make that decision in the future, but I am not going to go for a trial arranged by Mr. Varela,” he said.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Martinelli, corruption, Parlacen

blog comments powered by Disqus

Like what you're reading?

Subscribe to Americas Quarterly's free Week in Review newsletter and stay up-to-date on politics, business and culture in the Americas.