Category Archives: Panama

Corruption: It’s always a social program, isn’t it?

Allegations of corruption plagued Ricardo Martinelli's term as president of Panama. One of President Juan Carlos Varela's first priorities upon taking office last year was to investigate any irregularities that had occurred under his predecessor. On Wednesday, in a unanimous vote, Panama's Supreme Court voted to appoint a special prosecutor to launch a corruption investigation into the former president.

While there have been several allegations over the years, including kickbacks from an Italian military contractor involving Martinelli's family, the special prosecutor in this case only seems to be charged with investigating kickbacks from a government social program, the National Assistance Program. Why a billionaire would need to skim a few million dollars from government coffers is beyond me.

Two former heads of the program, Rafael Guardia and Giacomo Tamburelli, have implicated Martinelli in the scheme to inflate government contracts. Martinelli, meanwhile, is in Guatemala right now where he is attending a meeting of PARLACEN.

It's always a social program, isn't it?