President’s family linked to no-bid government orders

President Ricardo Martinelli avoided the media on Monday following revelations in La Prensa  about the use of a firm owned by family members to provide shirts and other items embroidered with the official logo on shirts. 

After attending a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, announcing the distribution of 800,000 school vouchers, he left the without making any statements.

 It was left to a PR spokesperson to defend the hiring of Borda Imagen SA  owned by he president’s sister and nephews, without using the bidding process.

The company was hired  to provide shirts and other clothing items embroidered with the logo of the National Government .

The shirts are worn daily by the President and his cabinet and for the launch of government programs.
Judy Meana said the company has proved it has the capacity and quality to do the job adding that  procurement was made through a "buy urgent “ program.

According to the Public Registry, Ana Maria Villanueva Martinelli is listed as president of the company  her  brother Diego Villanueva Martinelli, as treasurer and her mother, Analyst Martinelli Berrocal, as secretary says La Prensa.

Giselle Brea, executive secretary of the Gaming Control Board, and niece of deputy Francisco Brea is listed as the official agent.

The company’s offices are on Vista Hermosa behind a Super 99 store, part of the chain owned by President Martinelli, is listed as the resident agent. 

In a full page story, illustrated with  copies of documents, and  the supplier’s links to the president, La Prensa said  the firm has been hired directly, at least 20 times, by various ministries and public departments. Purchase orders omitted the Martinelli name.

The company, which is dedicated to the sale and manufacture of promotional items, screen printing and embroidery, also performed work on the presidential campaign and for the Martinelli 99-supermarket chain.

Shirts , jackets and sweaters  are produced for distribution at different government events. Colors are changed to match the tone of the event.

There were specially designed shirts and sweaters for the official announcement of the Government’s other flagship programs like "Choose Your Life," "Housing Solidarity Fund" and "Project Curundú”.

The shirts, have been used  in the Palace of the Herons when government ministers and their staff meet  foreign businessmen and members of the diplomatic corps.

According to spokesperson,  Meana, government clothing has been designed as a strategy to identify the government. starting with the  first Cabinet Council.

Officials  remain silent about the cost of the program.There are about 81 companies engaged in embroidery and screen printing  inPanama.

La Prensa says that On Friday January 8, during the opening of the tender envelopes "Project Curundú"  Martinelli referred to the official dress: "I will visit the various ministries to see what can change and thus provide better service to the people. From now on I will be in sinc in a country so hot. I am very pleased to go to ministries and other places and see that they are using the shirts that say National Government. "