Man for all seasons seeks new cookie jar

Franz Wever

The controversial Secretary General of the National Assembly who failed to garner enough votes from members of his own party to run for deputy in the May elections. is seeking another road paved with taxpayer dollars that will keep the former cab driver with his hands on the wheel of fortune.

Franz Wever is using his position in the   National Assembly to lobby for a post as a magistrate of the Court of Accounts for the next 10 years.

But instead of the wave of support, he hoped for there has been a tsunami of outcries against the man whose path to the cookie jar began in a taxi-drivers union with the blessing of the former military dictator Omar Torrijos.

Angelica Maytin, director of the Transparency and Access to Information Authority (Antai) said: “When I read the letter [to deputies], I  felt very upset because this kind of thing should not happen. One should not abuse the position for private benefit.”

She said that  the  position must be filled “by our best men and women” that have the merits and trajectories.“

But private benefit has been the hallmark of Wever’s public career as he has jockeyed for positions in sports bodies, ensuring that the cookie jar was never far from his hand, leading finally to the recent Pandeportes scandal revealing that those at the helm were more interested in  using their sticky fingers to divert  funds meant for athletes to their own trophy bags.

Maytin  echoes the cry of the No to re-election faction: “Hopefully with the next Assembly, after the elections, we will find higher standards regarding transparency, in terms of ethics, because at present … it is one of the organs with the lowest standards, that does not  punish those who do not attend, and  sanctions nepotism”

In a note addressed to the deputies, Wever asks them to examine his CV  “since I have all the requirements required by law for that purpose and support it with your vote.”

Article 281 of the Constitution establishes that the Court of Audit will have three magistrates: one appointed by the Legislative Body, another by the Executive and the third by the Judicial.

Some of the items he forgot to mention in his cv:

A former member of the dictatorship Defense Forces.

In 2007, as a deputy of the circuit 8-7, he changed his electoral residence to 8-3, Chame, to become politically active in that area. The Electoral Code says that the voters can only vote in the areas where they live. He wanted to take the voters of Panama to Chame.

In 2008 he starred in the incident of “the fly”. When as secretary of the   Olympic Committee he, was quietly preparing to slip off to Beijing, to participate in the Olympic Games. A photographer from Mi Diario took a picture of him.  Wever was upset and touched his genitals and exclaimed: “They want me to take it out so they can take a picture.”

In 2009, he came to blows with his colleague Enrique Kike Flores at the headquarters of the PRD). There were shouts and accusations of betrayal. Revolver in hand, he faced a colleague. “My compadre was the one who fired. I took out my revolver, but I did not shoot. I just hit my buddy,” he said in a La Prensa  interview

In 2018 despite a salary and expenses of over $10,000 a month he got the Presidency, to pay $7,787.for surgery to remove kidney stones

Last year was linked to the diversion of funds that  Pandeportes granted to the swimming federation. In December, he was re-elected as president federation in spite of protests from athletes about his family business interests.

His in 2009 and 2014, he failed to be elected deputy but remained linked to the Legislature, as an advisor, and now general secretary, because of the governance pact between the PRD and Panameñista parties.

He was elected legislator for the first time in 1994, reelected in 1999 and 2004. His political strength was acquired through the ranks of the National Federation of Taxi drivers.