Connect with us

Foreign

Panama charges 2 former presidents over corruption scandal

former
Spread the love

Panamanian prosecutors have charged former presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela with laundering money from construction giant Odebrecht, after the company admitted paying bribes in the country.

Advertisement

The two men, who collectively led Panama between 2009 and 2019, were not present at a court hearing on Friday.

Prosecutors accused the pair of using front companies and foreign bank accounts to receive funds from Odebrecht between 2008 and 2014.

Advertisement

About 50 other people are implicated in the charges, including several former ministers, prosecutors said.

In 2016, Odebrecht pled guilty in a Brooklyn court to paying more than $788 million in bribes to government officials and political parties, mainly in Latin America, to win infrastructure contracts.

Advertisement

The Brazilian company admitted paying bribes worth $59 million in Panama in exchange for contracts to build public works.

Odebrecht built Panama’s two metro lines, expanded Tocumen International Airport and laid several stretches of Panama City’s promenade, among other multimillion-dollar projects.

Advertisement

It overbilled the Panamanian government for some of the projects, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Varela, who lead Panama from 2014 to 2019, was the first of the two former heads of state to be accused, and his right-wing Panamenista party was accused of receiving $10 million from Odebrecht.

Advertisement

Varela denies the charges.

Martinelli, president from 2009-2014 and a successful businessman, was also accused of illegally receiving money from Odebrecht.

Advertisement

He was “fully aware of the illicit origin of the funds” and had even set up “an entire illegal structure” to collect the bribes, prosecutors said.

Two of Martinelli’s sons, who are both in prison in the US after being extradited from Guatemala, have pled guilty to receiving $28 million from Odebrecht.

Advertisement

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Foreign

Putin calls on Ukraine to agree to ceasefire and negotiations

Media, Putin
Spread the love

Ukraine’s government needs to agree to a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table, says Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Advertisement

“We are ready for this,” Putin said as he declared the parts of Ukraine occupied by Moscow’s forces to be part of Russia.

Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions are to be incorporated through “treaties” signed with the states, which Moscow has recognised as independent.

Advertisement

Putin stressed that the people in these regions are now “our citizens forever.” He stressed that there would be no negotiations with Ukraine concerning the annexed territories, citing referendums conducted in the areas.

Putin invoked the “right of self-determination” of the people living in the four areas, despite reports of Ukrainian residents in the occupied territories having been forced to vote.

Advertisement

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Foreign

University Teachers In UK Embark On Strike Over Pay + VIDEO

teachers
Spread the love

Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9,000.

Advertisement

Some staff of the Lewisham College in the United Kingdom on Monday protested and shut down the college to express their displeasure over the poor pay in the sector.

This was seen in a viral video obtained by SaharaReporters, where the teachers were complaining that their salaries could no longer pay their bills and this has been affecting their emotional and mental health.

Advertisement

Lewisham College is a further education college in the London Borough of Lewisham, south-east London.

It was established in 1990, having previously been known as SELTEC (South East London College of Technology since the early 1970s, which was run by the Inner London Education Authority.

Advertisement

The college has two campuses, its main one on Lewisham Way in Brockley, and another one in Church Street.

Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9,000.

Advertisement

Peter Bicknell, a librarian at the College, said he was going on strike because wages had been frozen for too long and his finances were worsening.

He said, “Going into my overdraft is frequent for me now. The energy price increases and cost of food has made it so difficult.

Advertisement

“Enough is enough. We’ve seen [pay] freeze after freeze after freeze. It’s been building for months, some of my colleagues are in a much worse position than me. Hopefully this will have an impact.

UCU has said unqualified college teachers earn as little as £21,000 whilst qualified teachers earn as little as £26,000.

Advertisement

In June, employer representative, the Association of Colleges made a pay recommendation of 2.5 per cent, while RPI inflation is now at 12.3 per cent.

Staff and Lewisham College are employed by the education organisation NCG.

Advertisement

One of the teachers, Georgi Bochevski, said, “When you can’t pay the rent, your transport, you have to find the solution to start doing any extra work.

And if you don’t have time for extra work then you can take credit cards or overdrafts. And when you can’t meet these basic needs, you start to struggle mentally.”

Advertisement

Another teacher, Portia Tertullian, said it is worrying her because she doesn’t know how long the situation would be without resolution.

The students were also seen backing their teachers during the protest. For Instance, one of the students, Millicent Zwane said, “I support it 100% because it is not fair on the teachers.

Advertisement

Because I came this morning to study and I found out there is a strike because they are not being paid enough.”

See video below:

Advertisement
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Naijablitznews (@naijablitznews)

Advertisement

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Foreign

My husband has PhD in coup d’etats – Sierra Leone First Lady

Spread the love

Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Fatima Bio, has controversially stated that her husband holds a PhD degree in staging coups.

Advertisement

Her comment was to buttress the point that nobody can overthrow Julius Maada Bio, who will be seeking a second and final term in office during upcoming general elections.

According to reports, she made the comment last weekend at a fundraising event in the US.

Advertisement

“Maada Bio has a PhD in coup d’état, can you remove him?” The man has a PhD in [staging] coups, how can you remove someone who teaches people how to stage a coup?,” the First Lady stressed in a video shared on Facebook.

Violent protests took place in opposition strongholds last month leading to death of 31 people including six police officers.

Advertisement

Maada Bio in an address to the nation, blamed the incidents on opponents despite reports indicating that it was over high cost of living. He subsequently changed the security chiefs.

The president is known to have been involved in two coup d’etats in the West African nation’s history.

Advertisement

First, he came to power in April 1992 as part of a group of young military officers who overthrew the civilian government of Joseph Saidu Momoh of the All People’s Congress, APC.

Four years on, in January 1996 he staged a palace coup and succeeded Captain Valentine Strasser as head of state. Two months later he held elections and handed over to a civilian rule.

Advertisement

Maada Bio came to power in 2018 on the ticket of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). He beat the then candidate of the ruling APC, which had Ernest Bai Koroma as outgoing president.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Read Stories

Copyright © 2022 NaijaBlitznews