OFF THE CUFF: Panama’s gouging lawmakers

Adolfo Valderrama

FORMER president of the National Assembly Adolfo Beby Valderrama who is aiming to become mayor of Panama City has admitted that he hired his mother-in-law, Gabriela Chiari, under the 080 (contracts) form of the National Assembly, with a salary of  $1,500 a month. According to the deputy, it was not a botella (non- existent job) , as she “was going to work”.

However, Valderrama, who was president of the Assembly 2014- 2015, forgot to mention that his nephew Rodrigo Botellota, who lives in Mexico also appears on the form, with a salary of $1,200 reports La Prensa. The deputy published on  Saturday, August 18 the list of 21 people contracted under the 080 form before it was suspended by Comptroller Federico Humbert. Their salaries range from $450 to  ($2,500.

Katleen Levy

PANAMEÑISTA Party gadfly deputy Katleen Levy has finally posted on her Twitter account her Form 080  showing how she spends taxpayer dollars to serve the people who elected her, but her disclosure is unlikely to satisfy the Comptroller.

Levy has 32 staff with monthly salaries ranging from $400 to $1,000. The return she filed does not show the time they were hired, their functions nor their hours.

The National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai) has indicated in the past that the information she has published does not meet with requirements that were requested to the Legislative reports TVN.

Yanibel Ábrego.

THE PRESIDENT of the National Assembly, Anibel Ábrego, has ordered the cancellation of the bidding for the design and construction of the controversial pedestrian bridge linking the old building of the Legislative, with the new one.

The$839,950 walkway from the offices of the lawmakers to their seats in the Assembly was intended to help the “Honorable Deputies” avoid pestering constituents and marauding journalists asking awkward questions. With the honorables girding up for the May 2019 elections for a return to the cookie jar, the cancelation may help reduce the heat from civil society which claims there are more urgent taxpayer needs.