- Title: Panama to cancel Odebrecht contract amid corruption scandal
- Date: 28th December 2016
- Summary: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (FILE) (REUTERS) PANAMA CITY SKYLINE COASTLINE PEOPLE WALKING THROUGH STREETS VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF PANAMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
- Embargoed: 12th January 2017 19:53
- Keywords: Odebrecht canal bribes corruption
- Location: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- City: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- Country: Panama
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ESSIF7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Panama said on Tuesday (December 28) it will cancel a contract given to Brazil's Odebrecht and will not allow the company to participate in public bids, shortly after Odebrecht admitted to bribing officials in Panama and other countries to obtain government contracts.
Odebrecht doled out more than $59 million in bribes to officials and intermediaries in Panama between about 2010 and 2014, according to a plea agreement last week in a United States court.
"We energetically condemn the acts of corruption perpetrated by Panamanian officials and figures related to the payment of bribes in Panama on behalf of the Odebrecht, which took money away from the nation, and had an effect on the interests of the state and the Panamanian people," Alvaro Aleman, of the Panamanian presidency, announced.
The government of Panama said in a statement that after reviewing the revelations of the case, it has decided to cancel a $1 billion contract given to Odebrecht in 2014 for a hydroelectric project in the Bocas del Toro province.
"The communique was completely drawn up and revised by the legal team. It's a communique that makes clear the intention and objectives of the federal government, and also makes clear what is the protection, directly or indirectly, of the almost 10,000, eight to 10,000 workers of Panamanians and of the works that are being constructed to help one way or another the people of Colon and the people of the Eastern City of Panama, so I think it's a process that's very clear and timely on behalf of the government, done with much responsibility," Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela, said.
It will also make Odebrecht withdraw from the bid process to design and build a fourth bridge on the Panama Canal and the Linea 3 metro line, and it will ban Odebrecht from winning future projects until it cooperates with local authorities.
"Be sure that in our administration nobody has received any kind of bribe, from this or any other company, and the moment something like that comes out, it would be dealt with. If we have people in our administration who if at a given moment have to open up their books, they will have to do that," Varela went on to emphasise.
A spokeswoman for Odebrecht in Panama did not have an immediate comment.
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