Hours after Panama’s Transit Authority (ATTT) trumpeted the success of Panama’s first traffic camera, which had clocked 2,000 speeding motorists it was abruptly turned off. without explanation.
The turnabout linked to connections of the operating company with the Martinelli family, was another blow for a government that had faced a battering week. On Friday, July 23 the ATTT ordered the company Traffic Safety to suspend operations of the speed control camera which had been operating since June 6 on the east coast
It had proved an attractive business for Traffic Safety, which recorded 2,000 fines at the going rate of $50 each.
For the company that took 65% of each ticket this represented an income of $65 000 for one camera. 19 more were to be installed.
The government gave the company a monopoly on the collection of speeding fines issued after detection by surveillance cameras It also wrote a contract that leaves open the possibility for the company to diversify their earnings with few limits, says La Prensa.
Under the contract signed by Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, who was head of the Transit Authority, and Ricardo Chanis Correa partner and friend of the Martinelli family, Traffic Safety keeps 65% of fines for speeding and any other offenses registered and collected through the concession system.
They would also be actively involved in managing the collection of fines and selling to third parties statistical information about the operation of their services, provided that is not classified as restrictive, although the contract does not specify what data would be confidential.
Questioned on the contract by Telemetro Reports Nicholas Brea, ATTT secretary said “You don’t want to give business to a well managed, company?” During the morning the Martinelli family connection was the talk of the airways, and by mid afternoon the suspension was announced