IT WAS kisses, smiles and hugs at a ceremony in Italy on Tuesday July 26, when Panama and Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica closed the book on a tainted helicopter deal from the Martinelli era.
But prominent former Martinelli government officials are still awaiting trial related to the original $250 million purchase
Panama and Finmeccanica definitively settled their commercial disagreements in an official ceremony at the aerospace factory of subsidiary AgustaWestland at which the company delivered a helicopter ambulance to Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarad and the Ambassador of Panama in Italy Fernando Berguido, reports La Prensa
The compensation includes the training of four pilots and four mechanics, a total value of $8.1 million. The deal was reached in recognition of the surcharge of 10 percent charged in the original defense contract signed in 2010 by the previous administration with Finmeccanica. The training will take place in Italy and Switzerland for two months. The company will also pay for maintenance and parts during the next three years.
The vice president said that the situation has had a "happy ending" and that she is glad that the dispute over the contract is "part of the past."
She also highlighted the work of Berguido to negotiate the deal, saying the resolution of the matter "opens up many possibilities...for the development of the Panamanian people.