Panama's Supreme Court of Justice has announced that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with an investigation into the reputed use of $403.4m during the reelection campaigns of 34 Deputies in the National Assembly. This money, was were allegedly used by the Deputies to secure votes in their favor, were said to come from government funds, and from kickbacks received from individuals who were awarded lucrative government contracts.
The announcement, that the investigation was being abruptly closed, was made by all the magistrate Judges of the Court. It stated that there was insufficient evidence of both the source of funds, and the identities of the recipients, according to the Comptroller General's Office. Coming during a period of major investigations into corrupt activities of senior Panamanian government officials, the cancellation of this investigation has raised serious questions as to whether there will be any significant inquiry into suspected corruption in the National Assembly, Panama's legislative body.
Unless the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Panama's government are all part of the reform process, it is feared that Panama's systemic corruption will never be eradicated to the point where the rule of law trumps the use of bribes and kickbacks in government operation.
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