Thursday 16 September 2021

Transparency International urges PARLACEN to revoke membership of Panama ex-President Martinelli

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Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, former president of Panama
Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, former president of Panama

(Q24N) Transparency International today urged the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) to revoke the membership of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, according to an open letter from the Chair of Transparency International and its national chapters in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

Martinelli’s membership limits the ability of the Panamanian justice system to prosecute alleged corruption by him. He enjoys legal privileges from PARLACEN that hinder Panama’s investigation and prosecution of his alleged wrong-doing. For example, he can only be investigated by the Supreme Court.

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“Ricardo Martinelli and his cronies are being investigated for grand corruption that created deep personal wealth for themselves while apparently preventing food from reaching the poor and taking school supplies from children,” said Transparency International Chair José Ugaz.

“It’s time for PARLACEN to be on the right side of justice. It’s time to stop the special treatment for Martinelli so he can experience the full extent of Panamanian law.” Transparency International also called all citizens of Central America to support this call on PARLACEN by signing an online petition at:

Ricardo Martinelli has called PARLACEN a “den of thieves” and as President of Panama he tried to end his country’s membership.

Meanwhile twelve formal charges have been filed against Ricardo Martinelli in the Supreme Court of Panama related to his alleged involvement in grand corruption and abuse of power during his administration. Six of these charges have been accepted by the Court.

In the letter Transparency International asked the President of the Central American Parliament the following questions:

  • Has Ricardo Martinelli attended any assemblies or other proceedings of the Central American Parliament since February 2015?
  • What are the consequences if he has not complied with PARLACEN’s internal rules regarding attendance?
  • Is Ricardo Martinelli receiving a salary currently as a member of the Central American Parliament?
  • What procedure will you use to revoke his membership in the organisation?

“We urge PARLACEN President José Antonio Alvarado Correa to exercise leadership at the next session this week and confirm the commitment of the Central American Parliament to uphold the process of justice,” said Manfredo Marroquín, President of Acción Ciudadana, Transparency International’s national chapter in Guatemala.

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