More attacks on Attorney General
PANAMA. The battle between the Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez, and the government’s Anti-Corruption czar, Fernando Nuñez Fabrega, ...
PANAMA. The battle between the Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez, and the government’s Anti-Corruption czar, Fernando Nuñez Fabrega, intensifies by the day.
In an interview on Telemetro yesterday, Gomez, Panama’s first female attorney general, called on Nuñez Fabrega to honor the code of ethics.
“Respect. That’s all I ask for,” she said.
Nuñez Fábrega has slammed Gomez’ performance as Attorney General wanting to know why she did not criticize the ex-president, Martin Torrijos, when he removed the investigative powers of the Anti-corruption Council.
Gomez, for her part, is asking the office of the presidency to revise the special powers that were awarded by decree to the anti-corruption czar.
Lawyers and the business sector have now joined in the debate, saying that the attacks by Nuñez Fabrega amount to a challenge to the democratic institutions of the country.
The rule of law and separation of powers between executive and judiciary needs to be respected, they say.
Ruben Elias Rodriguez, president of the National College of Lawyers, proposes that Gomez and Fabrega Nuñez sit down and thrash out their differences.
“We have to respect the democratic institutions of the country,” he said.
He also recommends that the decree giving the so-called “super-powers” to Fabrega Nuñez needs to be revisited.
“I can’t imagine you or me, as citizens, being investigated by a person who has no legal powers,” he said.
Ruben Castillo, president of the Association of Business Executives (APEDE) agrees with him.
“Any differences between the executive and the judiciary should be resolved in the courts,” he said. “They (the government) should respect her (Gomez) period of tenure. Part of the independence of the judiciary is that they should not have to face any type of medtdling in their work.”
Castillo said he believed that Martinelli was sincere when he said that he would not interfere with the judiciary.
Meanwhile, attacks on Gomez continue with the lawyer and journalist, Julio Miller, saying that the inefficiency in the Public Ministry “needs to be rooted out, starting at the top.” He said that the five years Ana Matilde has been Attorney General have produced little results.
“She has shown herself to be incapable and incompetent and has only gone after symbolic cases,” he said.
In his opinion, the Public Ministry has been too selective in the cases it has taken on.
“It should be called the Private Ministry. They only investigate parts of certain cases. They high profile matters are never investigated,” he said.
Miller listed what he saw as failings of the Gomez’ administration, including the case of the Banco Continental, when ex-president of Costa Rica, Arnoldo Aleman, deposited $3 million when Gomez was the bank’s legal advisor.
He also highlighted the case of more than 100 victims who were poisoned by diethylene glycol, a case that was sent back by the Supreme Court which said that the scope of the inquiry should be widened to include the then head of Social Security, Rene Luciani, as well as the ex-director of Social Security’s Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Department, Pablo Solis, and others. “The civil servants in the Public Ministry have no idea what they are doing, including the top one”. The performance of the Attorney General has also been strongly criticized by the Comptroller, Carlos Vallarino, who questioned her investigation into millions embezzled from the Education Ministry Gomez rejected his attacks, saying that the Comptroller was not up to date on the status of the case.