PANAMA’S presidents have a unique privilege, a “discretionary” fund over which the leader in office has sole control. Sometimes hand outs go to worthy causes, sometime to some more questionable, but the president is holding the purse.
With still a month and a half to go before he leaves office, Ricardo Martinelli has outstripped all of his predecessors in distributing tax-payer money to the tune of t $50.7 million during the nearly five years since his administration . This was revealed by the report on the funds posted on the presidential website each quarter.
Between July and December 2009, ie at the beginning of his administration, the Panamanian leader used $1.7 million; however reports a Prensa the figure rose dramatically a year later (January-December 2010) to $8.8 million.
Then in 2011 , Martinelli used $ 8.9 million , while in 2012 the figure rose to $ 11.2 million . This year, the report showed that the President allocated $ 175,462 of his discretionary purse 462 for the organization of the state funeral of three-time President Arnulfo Arias Madrid, and whos wife of ex president Mireya Moscoso , wanted his remains moved.
In 2013, spending soared to $16.4 million. By then, the country was in pre-election turmoil. Meanwhile, in the first three months of 2014, the President has spent $3.4 million of discretionary funds.
The report is published in the Presidency, however, but the settlement is by the Comptroller. Some costs do not even have invoices attached invoice.
Every year when the state budget is approved , the Presidency is assigned an amount $ 3.5 million. Most times this amount is modified during the fiscal year through the Budget Committee of the National Assembly.
Martinelli took office on July 1, 2009. Their government ends on June 30.
The amount used by Ricardo Martinelli exceeds the use of discretionary items , also known as "The Secret Game " – by their predecessors. Mireya Moscoso (1999-2004) , for example, spent $ 23 million in her five years in office ; while Martin Torrijos (2004-2009) used $ 22.3 million .
Balladares (1994-1999) during his administration used $ 25.3 million.
The use of by Martinelli has been criticized by leaders of various sectors. It also leaves unfulfilled campaign promise in the 2009 election, when he said that would reduce spending from that fund.