Procurement law draft lets Odebrecht into the ring
Odebrecht, the Brazilian company that has been the beneficiary of billions of dollars for construction projects from successive administrations and has admitted having paid scores millions in bribes to win contracts in Panama, could continue to build for the State
The news comes despite the fact that the draft of the reforms to the Public Procurement Law proposes barring companies that incur crimes against public administration.
In practice, all companies that have signed effective collaboration agreements before the reforms could continue to participate in state tenders reports La Prensa.
The bill, to amend the law, establishes that the judicial cooperation agreements signed with the competent authorities will be respected.
But future malfeasance will be punished. The changes, which the Executive has begun to disclose with different organizations, propose as grounds for inability to contract with the State acts of corruption that have been sentenced "in firm in Panamanian courts."
It also indicates that companies whose majority shareholders have been convicted will not be able to contract with the State, provided that the crime is linked to the activities of the company or its affiliated companies.
This regulation would apply as of the validity of the law, as it cannot be retroactive, says the of the Presidency, legal advisor Gaspar Tarté. Therefore, the measure will not touch Odebrecht or any other company that has used bribery to win state contracts.
Severo Sousa, president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep), agreed that it would be illogical to go against the legal matter if an agreement was reached before changing the law.
In the case of individuals, the reforms indicate that it will not be possible to hire those who have been convicted in the five years preceding the award.
It refers to convictions by final judicial decision or that have admitted and signed agreements of judicial collaboration where they confess or recognize the crimes against the public administration, money laundering or any other crime against the economic order. The draft reforms have to be presented to the National Assembly for discussion.
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