Business leaders want exhaustive bribery probe “no matter who falls”

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PANAMA’S  business leaders who were front and center in organizing a recent citizen demonstration against impunity is keeping up the pressure for the authorities to continue “exhaustively” the investigations related to the payment of bribes by the Odebrecht company to politicians,  officials and businessmen.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (Cciap) said in a Sunday, November 12 statement that the investigations must include “all works executed by that consortium since its arrival in the country to date, in order to “not leave suspicions” and ensure that the process is transparent. (The current government  has awarded Odebrecht over $2 billion in contracts, and President Varela has been accused of receiving  $700,000  for his election campaign)

The Cciap move comes after the November 9  endorsement of agreements between the Brazilian construction company  and the Public Ministry.

That day three Brazilian informers revealed more than $90 million in bribes and donations to electoral campaigns was paid by Odebrecht in Panama.

The effective collaboration agreements with the MP were endorsed by Judge Óscar Carrasquilla, in a hearing that was extended for more than 10 hours.

“The disclosures and ratifications of information given so far, in this case, are cause for concern since they generate ambiguity in Panamanians and sectors that, like our business union express their condemnation of impunity, which we are not going to tolerate, “says the statement.

The CACIP stressed in its conviction that pressure must be applied and the surrender of accounts demanded.

“We insist that these claims raise the voice of a society that expects changes deep within the justice system and the actions of prosecutors, as well as strengthening the institutions, so we must all unite in this fight undertaken by the country against corruption so that justice is done and the whole truth is known, no matter who falls, “says the group.

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