The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Panamanians are placing all their hopes in newly-elected President Varela; the first thing that needs to be fixed is the country's broken and totally corrupt justice system. A case in point: an individual whose extradition to Canada has been in limbo for eight months, while the Supreme Court of Justice sits on all pending motions.

The prisoner, Dr. Arthur Porter, has taken the extraordinary step of suing the Government of Panama for $140m in damages. Porter, who is fighting extradition to face Canadian fraud charges alleging that he stole $22.5m, from a hospital construction project, also claims that he has been illegally denied medical car while in custody at one of Panama's prisons. Porter is the former head of SIRC, the watchdog committee that oversees CSIS, the Canadian intelligence service.

Dr. Porter
The justices of the Supreme Court of Panama have been implicated many times in bribery allegations. Did Porter's attorneys fail to pay up, to move the case forward ? We cannot say, by President Varela needs to clean house in the country's fatally flawed court system. Compliance officers who are familiar with Panama know that obtaining justice in Panamanian court system is generally not only impossible, but the failed efforts to do so are often prohibitively expensive, and take years before the aggrieved party realizes that he is just throwing good money after bad. The injustice is one of the factors which have caused County Risk for Panama to be elevated, as neither foreign entities, nor individuals, can recover their losses through the court system in the republic, given its utterly corrupt judiciary.

Porter in custody in Panama

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