Colombia bribery crackdown an example for Panama

810Views 3Comments Posted 14/12/2018

A Colombian court has been tougher than Panama authorities on the Brazilian multinational Odebrecht ordering it to pay about $252 million dollars in compensation and disallowing it to bid on state contracts for 10 years because of corruption.

Panama has continued to hand out billions in contracts with more in the wind.

The ruling of the administrative court of Cundinamarca (center) was announced on Thursday and also applies to the partners of firms in the country, such as Episol, the company of banker Luis Carlos Sarmiento, the richest man in Colombia.

The decision responds to an action of January 2017 in which the attorney general, Fernando Carillo, requested precautionary measures to guarantee the viability of the Ruta del Sol 2 project, the country's most important highway project.

The ruling of more than 300 pages definitively suspended that contract, after it was established that it was awarded through the payment of bribes.

Apart from ordering the seizure of the bank accounts, goods and dividends obtained by companies involved, the judicial office declared several persons responsible for corruption including a former minister and a group of high profile businessmen.

The fine exceeds something more than 22 times the  $11 million initially offered by the multinational, to receive benefits in their criminal, disciplinary and fiscal proceedings in Colombia said in a Public Ministry press release.

In 2016, the Brazilian firm admitted before the US justice system that it had obtained lucrative contracts through bribes to politicians, in a practice that continued in 12 countries, including Colombia and Panama.

So far, six people have been condemned for this scandal in Colombia, where bribes were paid for at least $32.5 million. In Panama, they are more than $86  million.


Comments 3

Richard Charron

I suppose you are correct. You make some good points.

6 months ago
Jim Phillips

Sorry friend but corruption isn't limited to the elite. You find it every level of society, from being able to buy a descapacitado so you can play hooky at work, or nearly every police checkpoint bring essentially a way for the officers running it to get some extra cash. You can even get a driver's license by purchasing the required certificates without ever taking a single lesson. You won't get rid of corruption in Panama until you eradicate the "juega vivo" mentality from all Panamanians.

6 months ago
Richard Charron

This is the way it should have been handled in Panama. The difference is that in Panama, the corrupted don't want to give the money back and the courts have been corrupted by the corrupted. Corruption corruption, corruption, corruption, that's a way of life for the Panama Elite.

6 months ago
The comments are the responsibility of each author who freely expresses his opinion and not that of Newsroom Panama.
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