MORE REVELATIONS are emerging about ex-president Ricardo Martinelli’s “strong arm” former Minister of Labor Alma Cortes, and her alleged ability to use the arm to push funds through the law firm Cortes, Cortes, Mulino & Associates.
Alma Cortes was the person Martinelli tried to make leader of the CD Party earlier in the year when he threatened to eject all CD deputies who failed to sign an allegiance declaration. The deputies rejected both of Martinelli's moves.
The firm that carries her name, apparently received money from companies that won contracts from the ministry while she was in office.
This was revealed by an audit carried out by the comptroller into the finances of the former minister, which found $2.5 million in unjustified income reports La Prensa.
The audit reveals, for example, that the company Servicios Múltiples Empresariales paid the firm $637,000, which was apparently used by Cortes to purchase real estate for nearly $600,000.
That company received contracts in 2011 from the "My First Job" program in 2011.
The audit, encompassing the period between July 1, 2009 and May 31, 2015, was ordered in June 2015 following an exposure by La Estrella about the assets and properties of the former minister.
The audit found, that the company Fundehuma, which won contracts from the ministry in 2011, made payments at the same time to Cortes' law firm. The signatories on the firm's account were Cortes and Michell Herrera, who worked for the ministry.
La Prensa reports that after due diligence at the law firm when shown the documents showing the figures of the audit, Cortes demanded to know the name of the auditor who was going to sign the report. She visited the auditor Miriam Vásquez three times and , claimed she was being politically persecuted like former Security Minister José Raúl Mulino and ex-vice security minister Alejandro Garuz, and threatened to sue the auditor,