After a day-long interrogation on Thursday, July 2 special Odebrecht anti-corruption prosecutor Ruth Morcillo slapped a country arrest order on former president Juan Carlos Varela, which means he cannot leave the country without judicial authorization and must report on the 30th of each month.
Unlike former president Ricardo Martinelli, who earlier in the day received the same restriction, Varela did not take advantage of article 25 of the Constitution, which states that no one is obliged to testify against himself.
He answered questions from the prosecutor, who inquired about the money the Panameñista Party received from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Those funds would have been used in the electoral campaigns in 2009 when Varela allied with Ricardo Martinelli to reach the presidential palace : Martinelli as president and he as vice-president, and in 2014, when Varela won the Presidency reports La Prensa.
Jaime Lasso the ex-consul of Panama in South Korea, and close to the former president in February 13 and 17 told the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, that he was the link to receive the funds.
According to the prosecution's investigations, Odebrecht's money went to the Panameñista Party through the Don James Foundation and through two companies: V-Tech and Poseidon Enterprises, all linked to Lasso.
Supposedly, with that money, the political group paid for electoral campaigning. Varela insists that the money is not the product of bribes, but "donations
No one above law
The ex-preaident left the prosecutor’s office at 6:40 pm "I have come to comply with the summons from the Ministry earlier today. As I have said in all my speeches, no one is above the law. All citizens have to be responsible, comply with the laws of the country and, above all, when one is part of a process and is safe and feels sure of himself and his innocence, he must assume the correct procedural attitude: to appear, to answer, to clarify. Always be available to the authorities and that is what we are doing. This is what we are going to continue doing, ”he told waiting journalists.
He added that he will go to the prosecution as many times as necessary to clarify his innocence and answer any questions the Public Ministry has about the case. "And so comply with the country and strengthen the rule of law."
Unlike Martinelli, Varela didn't refuse to answer questions by taking the Panamenian equivalent of the 5th. Consequently, it's premature to conclude that he's guilty before he has even been chaged, much less convicted. It's also contrary to precedent that the incumbent party gets re-elected in Panamá. If Nito is as unpopular as some claim on this site, then it seems doubtful his party will be retained.
Imagine what could be done with the time and money being spent to investigate former presidents? Stop already. Focus on people with the virus and getting the country back to health. Going forward no one will ever want to serve in public office.
Pedro all goverments are the same .panama the US and every other country . And for those waving the American flag saying it is so great and panama is a dump i dare you to google search ...Dr Skidmore 90 trillion ... his number come from the goverment accountability office itself so pretty hard to deny the facts
Oh the irony! Varela started this 6 years ago as a personal vendetta against Martinelli and now it's come full circle to bite him in the arse. What a gift for the PRD Marxists who can now use this as a distraction while they plunder the country. The PRD will win another 5 year cycle in power easily as they can now paint both opposition parties as corrupt with the daily help of the leftist media. I am more certain than ever of the " Revolutionary Party" holding and cementing their power and draconian rule on the people.
Can a Panamanian be proud of his country no ! Criminals are Presidents and the worst is that Panama only elect criminals. Again and again. And for that the last criminal Cortizo ( one of the worst corrupt one) put all Panamaians in jail ( senseless lockdowns). Justice just fair. Only a worst uproar can eliminate this worst system.