U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

What are the corruption risks in the Panamanian judiciary and prosecution service? Which legislative and institutional safeguards are in place, which gaps exist? Have there been efforts to strengthen integrity recently? What is the public perception regarding the integrity of the judiciary? Are there well known cases/examples?

Content

1. Overview of the judiciary in Panama
2. Overview of the prosecution service in Panama
3. Corruption risks and examples of corruption in the judiciary
4. Corruption risks and examples of corruption in the prosecution service
5. Public perception of the integrity of the judiciary and the prosecution service
6. Recent efforts to strengthen integrity in the judiciary and prosecution service
7. References
8. Further reading

Summary

The legal system in Panama faces serious challenges to its integrity. There is political interference in appointing judges, particularly to the Supreme Court. There is no independent body to investigate corrupt acts of public officials. It is problematic that by law only Supreme Court judges can investigate corrupt acts of National Assembly members and vice versa. Anti-Corruption Prosecution Offices are underfunded and understaffed. Some state institutions do not cooperate with prosecutors in corruption cases involving illicit enrichment of public officials.

Authors

Victoria Jennett, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

03/01/2014

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