Impunity decision upsets civil groups

The Supreme Court
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CIVIL GROUPS, political commentators and citizens of different political stripes have raised an outcry over the decision of a Panama court to let a cabal of Martinelli insiders and their associates walk free after being charged with money laundering.

The Independent Movement for Panama (Movin) demanded an investigation by  the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), after learning that a failure of the Second Superior Court declared the nullity of the investigation followed 14 people for alleged money laundering linked to accounts of jailed ex- judge  Alejandro Moncada Luna.

The ruling was endorsed by the judges Wilfredo Saenz (rapporteur) and Maria de Lourdes Estrada.

Luis Mario Carrasco saved his  vote, arguing that the court “abruptly interrupted prerogatives of tthe prosecutor,” which in this case is the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime.

Saenz and Estrada declare the nullity of the investigation, based on an agreement initiated  in 2015 by Deputy  Pedro Miguel Gonzalez and then judge Moncada Luna by which he accepts a sentence of 60 months imprisonment for the offenses of unjust enrichment and falsifying a public document.

“Claiming that penalty agreement with the individual crime eliminates or suppress the responsibility of other participants in it, it is an insult to the intelligence of  citizens.

“This claim comes higher court judges is unacceptable because it results in impunity, ”  said a Movin statement.

Judges’ Corruption

Carlos Lee of the , Citizens Alliance for Justice, is among those who think that Saenz and Estrada could be subject to criminal prosecution for the possible crime of corruption, reports La Prensa.

The process, according to Lee, could be made in the light of Article 346 of the Penal Code. This provision says that “the official of the judiciary or the prosecution that collusion or other fraudulent means, utters manifestly contrary to the Constitution resolution or law so that would be prejudicial receive a sentence of four to eight years in prison” .

Magaly Castillo, branded the ruling as “scandalous”. “It  is leaving unpunished actions of employers who participated in money laundering that allowed the unjustified enrichment of Moncada Luna,”she said.

A lawyer  who  questioned the judgments  said that the ruling “creates a blanket of impunity He said that this approach could be extended to the process followed  for Ricardo Martinelli, in the espionage in  the Sixteenth Circuit Criminal Court and a process against  Gustavo Perez and Alejandro Garuz on  the same subject.

 

 

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