Wednesday, 21 August 2019 11:48 GMT

Controversial rulings leave anti-corruption prosecutors stranded

(MENAFN - Newsroom Panama) Controversial decisions of  Second Court Judge, José Hoo Justiniani, in high profile cases in high in the last week, have left without effect the actions of the  Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) in which businessmen and former employees are accused of acts of corruption reports La Prensa

The most recent ruling was in the process for possible irregularities in the contract for the failed Tonosí irrigation project, awarded in 2012 during the Ricardo Martinelli administration for $155 million.

Hoo Justiniani annulled the imputation of charges of the Anticorruption Prosecutor against Marco Albán, manager of the company Hidalgo & Hidalgo, to which the work had been awarded. According to the MP, the State had paid an advance of $31 million or 20% of the total.

In the same judgment, Hoo Justiniani also favored former Minister of Agricultural Development Emilio Kieswetter.

Albán and Kieswetter were prosecuted for the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration.

This week, Panama  media also reported a decision of June 19, in which Hoo Justiniani, acting as rapporteur magistrate, revoked the indictment of self-exiled businessman Gabriel Gaby Btesh in a process for alleged irregularities in the contract for the administration of the parking lots at the Tocumen International Airport, awarded during the Martinelli  presidential period.

He ruled  it was  not justified that the Anticorruption Prosecutor's office in a single day made multiple steps: imputation, detention and international alert for an alleged damage to the State, and -according to the magistrate- without giving Btesh an opportunity to be heard, or , "At least", notify his  lawyer.

In May, Hoo Justiniani confirmed the decision of the Fifteenth Court to decree the nullity of the orders of inquiry and application of precautionary measures imposed on Juan Carlos Marciaga, Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio and Abraham Williams in the case known as Piso y Techo, to the detriment of the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Planning.

 According to the Comptroller's Office, there was an economic loss for the State of $ 1.5 million;.

Hoo Justiniani has also acted as a substitute judge in the bail-in April 2017 to Ramón Fonseca Mora and Jürguen Mossack, founders of the defunct law firm  Mossack Fonseca, the center of The Panama Papers scandal

The magistrate said  in the ruling that, despite the fact that the Second Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime filed charges against them for alleged money laundering, in the investigations of Brazil in the Lava Jato case none of them appears to be linked.

Another case in which Hoo Justiniani has intervened is that of Cobranzas del Istmo, SA (CISA). He annulled a judgment of the First Court, which returned bank accounts for $35 million and luxury vehicles to Cristóbal Tobín Salerno, the majority shareholder of CISA, a company that in the Martinelli government had the monopoly to collect the delinquent portfolio of the State.

Salerno was sentenced to 48 months in prison for embezzlement, but the measure was replaced by 500 days fine at $600  a day



Controversial rulings leave anti-corruption prosecutors stranded

  Most popular stories  

Day | Week | Month