$17 million stolen
PANAMA. More than $17 million was embezzled from the state during the administrations of ex-presidents Martin Torrijos and Mireya Mosco...
PANAMA. More than $17 million was embezzled from the state during the administrations of ex-presidents Martin Torrijos and Mireya Moscoso, the Treasurer, Carlos Vallarino, said on Thursday.
More than half of the fraud cases - adding up to $7.6354 million - occurred in the last two years of the Torrijos government.
Most of the money disappeared from the Ministries of the Presidency ($5 million), Education ($2.932 million), and Public Works ($590 thousand), as well as the Agricultural Development Bank ($4.98 million) and the various consulates around the world (1.914 million).
Another $2 million is missing from other government institutions.
According to Vallarino’s report presented to the National Assembly, between Janaury 2000 and August 2009, there were 523 denouncements of fraud.
Vallarino said that some of the cases of have already come to light. He mentioned in particular the embezzlement from the Social Investment Fund, the Tucan Museum, Prados del Este, the Fund for Equality and Quality in Education and the Ministry of Education’s fibre glass scandal that is currently being investigated.
Another case of corruption is the Opportunity Network Fund involving Post Offices workers which is now being investigated and will be denounced to the Attorney General’s Office.
“There were and still are irregularities which the Treasury has already addressed in previous audits,” Vallarino said.
Among the anomalies he mentioned contracts being issued to firms not listed in the Public Registry, contracts being issued without specific requirements or countersignatures, overcharging for work and materials, fake signatures on checks and checks issued without authorization.
He said that 38 cases have already been sent to the Attorney General, and another 18 are still under investigation.