The revelation that the brazilian construction company paid nearly $60 million in bribes in Panama is a clear wake-up call to society and the private sector, which must demand transparency in government procurement processes.
When a company bribes government officials to win public works contracts not only does it cause serious damage to that country's institutions, but it also damages economic development and the performance of private companies who do operate within the framework of the law, paying taxes and complying with the law.
The Public Ministry of Guatemala has announced that its investigations have shown that a network of illicit laundering of money and other assets operated in the port terminal.
Consideration is being given to canceling the contract with the concessionaire Container Terminal Spanish Quetzal after the denouncement that it paid bribes to Perez Molina for the award of the terminal.
The Attorney General has requested investigating whether there were cost overruns in the works in the country awarded to the construction firm which is accused of corruption by the Brazilian justice system.
The Attorney General's Office has asked the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama for an audit of the prime contractor for the Panamanian government, Odebrecht, in order to know "in detail" about the contracts awarded to the Brazilian construction firm, where the works amount to $9, billion, reported Prensa.com . The prosecutor Rigoberto Gonzalez intends to audit both the works already delivered and those which are still running.
The court ruling that imposed a 19 year prison sentence has forced a review of the projects being managed by the company in the region, where two projects which are underway in Panama alone, total $2.4 billion.
On March 8th the Brazilian justice system condemned Marcelo Odebrecht, former CEO of the largest Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, to 19 years and 4 months in prison and to pay a fine of $35 million along with executives from the group for the payment of about $65 million in bribes to officials in the case of corruption in the state run oil company Petrobras, reported La Prensa. The ruling mentioned fraud in tenders, where bribes were also paid for the award of the works.
SAP International agreed with the the US National Stock Committee to pay $3.7 million of its profits and $189,000 in interest for bribing panamanian officials.
The penalty relates to the corruption case linked to former company executive, Vicente Eduardo Garcia, who was sentenced to 22 months in prison for bribing Panamanian officials. Garcia paid $145,000 in bribes to the company Advanced Consulting Panama, SA, who won a $14.5 million contract with the Social Security Department which included the sale of software licenses.
Following revelations about corruption at the highest level and the processing of those involved, it is unlikely that an official will request bribe money from a businessman.
Some analysts are concerned about the effect of allegations of corruption in Guatemala, noting that it will increase mistrust and the instability in economic activity, which could even have a negative effect because of the greater weight of the Guatemalan economy in Central America, over other countries in the region.
World Bank statistics show that every day, about $1.3 billion are paid in bribes related to state contracts.
The figures were mentioned by Michael Kramer, a consultant at the entity, who is taking part in the forum "Preventing and combating corruption and collusion in public procurements", taking place in Panama.
To avoid prosecution in the United States for bribes paid in Costa Rica, Taiwan and Kenya, Alcatel-Lucent agreed to pay $137.4 million.
The Department of Justice of the United States will defer prosecution of Alcatel on charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and must enter a three-year probation period monitored by a French anti corruption monitor.
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