2020 gives clean slate to Humbert replacement at Comptroller. Fingers Crossed

Financials

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/la-contraloria-clave-para-la-lucha-contra-la-corrupcion/

Since the beginning of the Republic there has been a succession of offices responsible for maintaining fiscal control of public spending. What we know today as the Comptroller General of the Republic was originally a tax visitor and then the state tax agent. In the 1930s it became the current institution.

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President of the Assembly says that they will work with Solis in ‘harmonious collaboration’An election without frights; Gerardo Solís, the next comptroller

The Comptroller is the entity that makes it possible for the State to function. Each contract, each appointment and each payment made by the State or municipalities needs the endorsement of the Comptroller.

This is not free, since the Comptroller’s Office verifies that there are funds available to pay for the object of public expenditure.

The entity’s powers allow it to suspend a payment or refuse to endorse a contract if there is any irregularity or if the Comptroller considers that such processing negatively affects the treasury.

To this preventive capacity of the Comptroller is added a prolific audit function. Audits are the means that the Comptroller’s Office has to verify the correctness of public spending or the endorsement of the assets of an official. Audits, therefore, are a means of proof of acts of corruption, whether peculated or illicit enrichment.

There is a systemic problem of Panamanian criminal justice regarding the audits of the Comptroller.

The Comptroller’s forensic audit is the main evidence in crimes against public administration. It should not be the only one, but the judges and magistrates of the Court have adopted the practice of rejecting corruption cases if there are no forensic audits to support it.

This scenario is further complicated, because the tendency of recent years has been to rule out forensic audits and all the evidence attached to them. This has been evident in high profile cases in recent times.

The forensic auditor is a scarce human resource in public administration. Within the Comptroller’s Office, it is urgent to strengthen the Forensic Audit Department, because these officials have to face real sharks in trials, with implicit or explicit threats against the assets, professional reputation or personal integrity of the forensic auditor.

A Comptroller’s office with limited or intimidated forensic audit capability puts the National Treasury on the corrupt in a silver tray.

The Comptroller has legislative initiative by constitutional mandate. This means that you can propose laws on the topics that are of your knowledge.

The criteria of a forensic audit, its probative value and the protection of the auditors who prepared it should be subjects of a standard that sends the message to the international society that Panama takes the fight against corruption seriously.

A weak flank presented to the Comptroller in the coming years is that of decentralization. Dozens of municipalities managing public funds, through bids or direct contracting, are a headache for any institution. A screw does not cost the same in Panama as in Puerto Armuelles. Nor are maintenance or repair amounts equivalent. Familiarity between officials and contractors is extremely common in all parts of the country, especially in the interior, which creates additional pressures for the auditors and auditors of the Comptroller.

It is up to the next comptroller general, Gerardo Solís, to lead an institution that will have a leading role in the weighting of public-private associations, the renewal of port concessions and public services, and in the rescue of the Social Security Fund.

Of course, there is the issue of the Population and Housing Census, pending date.

The new year will receive us with a new comptroller and a broad mandate as the horizon.

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