Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Monday, October 6, 2014

WILL PANAMA'S NEW PRESIDENT REFORM ITS CORRUPT JUSTICE SYSTEM ?

Coat of Arms, Panama City

The current $2m corruption scandal in Panama City, involving its former Chief Supreme Court Justice, Magistrate Alejandro Moncada Luna, has many prominent Panamanian law firms wonder when the purportedly reformist President Varela will remove him from office for cause. Many are wondering just how much bribe money Moncada took, while commanding the Court, to delay, dismiss, or rule on major cases that came before the Court. Lawyers in Panama have had enough, and the country's new president must now decide whether he is part of the solution to judicial and prosecutorial corruption, or just part of the problem.

it gets worse; The beleaguered Attorney General, Ana Isabel Belfon Vargas, who has her detractors, especially when she fails to charge offenders, in the face of overwhelming evidence, has now herself been accused of Abuse of Power. Shouldn't she now step down ? In any country where the Rule of Law exists, that would be a given, but this is the Republic of Panama.

Potential foreign investors, retirees and expats, and foreign companies working these, all fear the corrupt, inefficient, and dysfunctional court system. Can Varela make good on his campaign promises, and sack the corrupt ministers and judiciary appointed under Martinelli (himself due to be indicted in Italy shortly), thereby restoring the Rule of Law ? Only time  will tell, but Varela had better hurry up, for the good of the country, lest there be capital flight, loss of jobs, and recession, or worse, in store for Panama.

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