Anti-corruption protest stirs pot

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THE ANTI-CORRUPTION   gathering of 10,000 citizens on the Cinta Costera, on January 9 is beginning to, pay off, as the ruling  Panamenista party announced that it will promote the discussion and approval of two bills against acts of corruption.

They are Project 043 ,  to remove time limitations on investigation and prosecution of corruption, and the recently presented initiative that gives ‘civil death’  (banned for life from public office)  to those found guilty.

“The National Directorate has instructed  the Panamenista bloc in the Assembly to promote the debate and approval of the statute of limitations on criminal activity in cases of corruption and support the initiative to declare by law the civil death of those convicted of corruption” , tweeted Mayor José Isabel Blandón, deputies Katleen Levy, José Luis ‘Popy’ Varela, Adolfo Valderrama, Luis Eduardo Quirós and other members of the collective.

The Project 043 was submitted 10 months ago with the intention of modifying Article 116 of Law 63, to propose that crimes such as corruption of public servants, unjustified enrichment, abuse of authority, influence peddling, fraud in public procurement and others can be investigated at any time.

Although this was protected, in April of last year, it has not reached the plenary to be debated, and that led proponents -among them the Independent Movement (Movin) – to start collecting signatures to speed up the process. The group wanted to obtain five thousand signatures and, to date, obtained the support of 3,263.

Annette Planells, leader of Movin, said that the idea of these initiatives is that all those who are involved in acts of corruption are punished with jail and, in addition, the State recovers the stolen property. She  saw positively the decision of the Panameñista deputies to promote these preliminary projects and urged the other groups to join this fight “to strengthen our anti-corruption legislation.”

Freddy Pitti, of the citizen movement Together We Decide, is pleased with the performance of this party, but said it is necessary to follow with a magnifying glass what happens in the debates of the preliminary projects..

“Hopefully they will not detract from or distort the spirit of these bills during the discussions,” he said.

Lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, said all political parties must endorse the initiative to prevent the strengthening of impunity. “This would show that they are not afraid of being investigated in the future and that they really want to put a stop to corruption,” Cedeño said.




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