JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Court authorizes investigation of Martinelli

Temas:

The criminal investigation of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) for offenses against public administration will formally start Monday.

The judges of the Supreme Court announced the decision after a meeting Thursday chaired by Judge Luis Ramón Fábrega. Justices Oydén Ortega and Jerome Mejia are empowered to act as the prosecutors.

On April 23, the Tribunal Electoral (TE) suspended Martinelli's immunity that he had as leader of the Democratic Change (CD) party.

The charges stem from allegations made by former National Assistance Program (PAN) Director Giacomo Tamburrelli, who also faces criminal charges. He claimed that Martinelli ordered him to grant a no-bid contract to Lerkshore International for $44.5 million to provide dehydrated food to schools. An audit found the value of the food was closer to $15 million.

Alaos facing charges are former Comptroller Gioconda Torres de Bianchini, Martinelli's former private secretary Adolfo "Chichi" De Obarrio, ministers Lucy Molinar (Education) and Federico José Suárez (Public Works), deputy ministers María Fábrega (Presidency) and Marta de Varela (Social Development), the legal representative of Lerkshore Rubén De Ycaza and former PAN Nutrition Director Angel Famiglietti.

In the resolution adopted today by the court, it rejected a motion filed by Martinelli's lawyers to block the case by claiming his immunity was still in place.

The complaint against Martinelli is being handled directly by the court due to his membership in the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

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