Panama to analyze ruling favoring disgraced Odebrecht

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Panamanian government's legal area will analyze a surprise ruling in favor of disgraced Brazilian construction group Odebrecht, according to local daily La Prensa.

A criminal judge recently ruled that Odebrecht is not legally forbidden from participating in public tenders or from signing new contracts with the government.

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Minister of the presidency Álvaro Alemán told the paper that the cabinet will discuss how to proceed once the legal analysis is completed.

Following the ruling at the end of last year, notices were submitted to public and private institutions to let them know that Odebrecht is able to engage in contracting processes with the state, La Prensa reported.

In December 2016, the government announced measures to ban Odebrecht from participating in public tenders or obtaining government contracts, following revelations the company had paid US$59mn in bribes to obtain contracts in the country.

According to La Prensa, the December 28 ruling states that Odebrecht has already complied with almost all the measures under its collaboration agreement with Panamanian prosecutors, except for the payment of a US$220mn fine.

The Panamanian authorities had said that Odebrecht would be barred from public tenders until its full collaboration with local prosecutors and the payment of compensations determined by the state.

Finance minister reacts

Finance minister Dulcidio de la Guardia said he would vote against awarding any contracts to Odebrecht that are related to the Tocumen airport.

Odebrect had attended a clarification meeting regarding a Tocumen tender process, according to La Prensa.