Judge sends ominous Crime Pays message

995Views 0Comments Posted 17/12/2017

The return of a mansion,  bank accounts a Porsche,  a yacht, silverware  and other symbols of wealth to a former government official convicted  of embezzlement  and money laundering  is proof that  “crime pays and generates a "picture of impunity" to  ordinary citizens, say leaders  of civil society reacting to a decision of Fifteenth Criminal Judge Leslie Loaiza, which spurred cries of outrage and disbelief

The beneficiary of the of the decision  is the former director  of the now-defunct National Assistance  Program (PAN) Rafael Guardia Jaen

For the  Anticorruption Prosecutor, the decision was is "incomprehensible" and an appeal was launched on the grounds that the judge acted "without having basic evidentiary support "that will prove that the goods were obtained "in a lawful manner".

Olga de Obaldía, executive director of the Foundation for the Development of  Citizen Liberty The  Panamanian chapter of Transparency International, said:  "What sense of justice is there in the country when this happens?

“When" we have a judicial system "that is not working as it should be, democracy itself is in danger. "

Anette Planells, of the Independent Movement (Movin), described as terrible the message sent by Judge Loaiza, in the sense that " crime does pay." … That one can pay a couple of years in jail and enjoy what you stole, " she said.

Planells said she hopes that the Second Superior Court of Justice will accept the appeal presented by the MP and "keep the assets guarded, which belong to all Panamanians".

She recalled that this is not the judge's first controversial decision, in which he seems to help Guardia Jaén and to go against the citizens. "We regret that there is no ethics and discipline tribunal  of the Judicial Organ when  the magistrates have not implemented the judicial career ",

Jorge González, presidential spokesman, said that the decision adopted by Loaiza "is outrageous" and creates an ominous precedent. "The country deserves respect and an explanation, he said. Citizens hope that there is certainty of punishment and that the justice system works,” he added.