Ex-minister gets detention order
PANAMA. After eight hours of questioning at the Second Anti corruption prosecution office, former Education Minister Belgis Castro was ...
PANAMA. After eight hours of questioning at the Second Anti corruption prosecution office, former Education Minister Belgis Castro was issued a preventive detention order.
Castro is accused of embezzlement and mismanagement of Education ministry (MEDUCA) funds.
The alleged removal of fiberglass in ten schools on the east region of Panama cost the state $136,000
It turned out that no public tender was called and the contacts were given directly to the company Inmtecsa.
In other schools there was no fiberglass to be removed but nevertheless invoices were approved and paid.
According to the Prosecuters office this caused serious problems in the communities involved, sparking street protests and strikes.
Castro is charged with public administration damages.
Kenia Porcell, the public prosecutor in charge, ordered preventive detention even though Castro's doctor recommended not to detain him due to health reasons.
Next Monday, Castro will have to appear again at the prosecution office to be questioned about contracts given out given out in the Colon province.
The ex- Minister said he wasn't afraid and confirmed he will clarify all contacts given during his administration.
They were, he claimed, all done according to the law.
Carlos Carrillo, Castro's defense lawyer said that a medical evaluation that proved Castro was in a delicate condition.
It was caused by diabetes and cardiovascular problems was ignored and his detention was ordered.
Carrillo said the Legal medicine department will be held responsible if anything happens to Belgis Castro during the detention.
The medical department ruled that he was fit to face detention in spite of what his doctor recommended.
Castro is being held at the headquarters of the Judicial Investigation office (DIJ).
Next to face prosecution and questioning is Salvador Rodriguez, also a former Education Minister.