The departure Minister of Public Works (MOP) Federico Pepe Suarez two years before Ricardo Martinelli’s term as president expires, has created a new cloud of speculation linked to nos functioning asphalt plants.
Telemetro Report on Tuesday, August 16, that he is a business partner of Suarez in a cement company that has “nothing to do with asphalt”.Following media inquiries the President admitted on
Martinelli did not reveal the name of the cement company, and insisted that Suarez has nothing to do with asphalt ... referring to the controversy over choosing this material for huge investments of the MOP .
Although President Martinelli claimed limited business relations with Suarez, a La Prensa investigation has identified other commercial ties between the two.
They include Centro Comercial Los Andes, San Miguelito, where line one of one of the Metro ends.
The third phase of the shopping center is being done by promoter and developer Los Andes, SA, a corporation chaired by the president since October 2006.
Originally, Los Andes Had Guillermi Sáez-Llorens with Suarez as sub secretary, and Mario Martinelli (brother of the president) as treasurer.
At a special meeting of the directors of the corporation in August 2008 it was decided that Suarez would become vice president, while Sáez-Llorens was replaced by a person whose ties to President Martinelli and Suarez are palpable: Riccardo Francolini, says La Prensa.
With 18 years experience in the banking sector, Francolini is now CEO of Grupo Suarez, the construction company founded by the family of the former Minister of the MOP.
Before arriving in the now thriving construction company, Francolini Global worked at Global Bank, a bank linked to President Martinelli.
Related to the president in the commercial area, Sáez-Llorens, Francolini and Suarez came to occupy important positions in the structure of the state with the arrival of Martinelli as president.
Sáez-Llorens, headed the Social Security Fund and Suarez the MOP.
Francolini, meanwhile, was appointed by the president as chairman of the board of the Caja de Ahorro and vice president of Tocumen, SA
Suarez and Francolini are also part of the state-owned National Highway Company, Inc. (ENA), created for the purchase and administration of the Corredors North and South.
On June 1, 2009, a month before taking office as Minister of Public Works, Suarez resigned from Los Andes SA, but was replaced by his sister Ana Isabel Suarez. The President also resigned as president of the society, being replaced by his son Ricardo Martinelli Linares.
In 2011 there were other movements in the company, as the output of Suarez and Martinelli Linares, the latter replaced by attorney Evelyn Vargas, resident agent in other Martinelli companies.
The links are also evident in Tecal, SA, enscribed by Suarez and Luis Enrique Martinelli, son of the president, on February 16, 2009. In this society are Riccardo Francolini, Mario Martinelli and Ana Isabel Suarez.
Upper Tecal is also one of the real estate deals of the Suarez Group.
With Martinelli as president, the company Basic Industries (signed in 2006 by Francolini and the president) had a 25-year concession for the mining of gypsum, limestone, clay and other minerals in La Chorrera.
The grant is a few meters from Maribel Construction, another company of the Suarez family.
"This project has been gestating since 2006 to build a cement factory and in which President Martinelli was a minority shareholder," was the explanation given to La Prensa by Francolini in 2010.
Basic Industries has offices in the Super 99 building in Costa del Este,.
In the same office is Interoceanic Cement, which also shares the land of 15.7 hectares in La Chorrera, where Basic Industries operates.
Both companies have Ramon Abadi as a prominent figure. He is secretary of the board of Basic Industries and appears in a video of Interoceanic Cement as its manager. In addition, Abadi is the father of Panama’s commercial attache in the United Kingdom.
The unanswered questions left by Suarez are not limited to trade relations with the president.
He has yet to report the reasons why the four state asphalt plants, given in concession to IBT Group, are not producing.
The issue is especially important for the large amount of asphalt that is being used in project implementations of the MOP, and the danger that Panama has to pay compensation to the company.
Still in the air is the possibility of sanctions against David Ochy of Transcaribe Trading, SA, after the the blockade of La Prensa, with trucks and pylons carrying MOP logos
Trading Transcaribe was the companyto which Suarez gave, in June 2009, a month before taking office in Public Works, a $5.9 million contract to rehabilitate the highway Arraiján-La Chorrera. The company has since been awarded alone or in partnership with other companies, contracts exceeding $400 million.