Spanish version

LAVA JATO

Questions raised about contracts

A company official said that Odebrecht may have gained an unfair advantage in public contracts.

Spanish version

Temas:

A former Odebrecht official has told prosecutors working on the Lava Jato investigation that the firm created the statement of objections for the Bay of Panama sanitation project, giving it an advantage in bidding for the project.

The Brazilian newspaper Estadão, of Rio de Janeiro, published that Marco Antonio Vasconcelos Cruz, the former president of Odebrecht in the Dominican Republic, said in an email seized by prosecutors that the company had been involved in creating the specifications for the project.

Carlos Lee, president of the Judicial Council, said that Panama prosecutors need to investigate these allegations.

"Prosecutors must initiate an investigation to see if criminal offenses were committed in terms of corruption or the payment of bribes to government officials," he warned.

He added that Panama should cooperate with Brazilian prosecutors in the case.

Partido Popular Deputy Juan Carlos Arango agreed that the Public Prosecutor's Office should start an investigation.

"We must find legal alternatives to prevent acts of corruption related to companies participating in public tenders," the deputy said.

Ramón Ricardo Arias, president of the Panama chapter of Transparency International, said that the allegations show a lack of political will to investigate such matters in Panama.

"The fact that we have to wait for Brazil to investigate our problems is due to the fact that, apparently, we don't want solve or investigate what happens in Panama," he said.

President Juan Carlos Varela has taken a neutral stance on the matter, saying such investigations need to be handled by the judiciary.

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