Transparency 49: Marvin Vega and Celia Frías
In Transparency No. 44 of Veterinaria Digital dated September 24, 2014 we wrote, referring to the dismissal of Manuel Antonio González Cano as director of Animal Health of the MIDA the following:
"Situations like the exposed incline us to propose some modifications to the protocols of the Animal Health MIDA starting an internal audit as no one, individually, can degrade an institution becoming evident the presence of partners that are likely to remain necessary in the institution.”
This paper was prescient of what has happened a year later. Indeed in September 2015 it has revealed the continuity of nontransparent practices by public servants who remained in the institution, and have been able to come to light:
1. It has become clear the transparent management of certain economic funds by senior officials of Directorate of Animal Health MIDA, according to informed sources reserved Transparency.
2. Through the work of investigative reporting by a newspaper circulating in the Panamanian territory called Panama America, where the use of vehicles with plate IM (International Mission) with free gasoline is revealed by senior officials of Address MIDA Animal Health, not correspond to any international mission and domestic use of vehicles belonging to the international organization OIRSA (without being attached or officials of that agency staff); when regulations, professional use only for vehicles with GO plate is supported, provided exclusively on professional official schedule.
3. It has been shown by a journalistic investigation conducted by Panama America a constant breach of working hours in the MIDA, committed by a senior official of that body, open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm, and in that same time period he was teaching classes at the University of Panama from 02:45 pm (this also taking into account the displacement of the University MIDA is a minimum of 45 minutes)
4. According to the transparency sources requiring application of rules not included in the Panamanian legislation during inspections by public servants to some related industries Animal Health, which allowed the application of some objective criteria and above all personal sources and away from the legal reality. The distortion has reached the point of no officials to incorporate such inspections and to submit reports not collected the conclusions of the proceedings.
5. And finally is public domain that the officials concerned by these investigations and allegations, attempted a disinformation campaign with media appearances trying to involve defamation by other officials, politicians and even veterinary professional organization incautiously fell into the trap of such misinformation.
Consequence of this has been dismissed from their positions in the Department of Animal Health of the MIDA, so far, public servants Marvin Vega, Deputy Director of Animal Health and Celia Frías Head of Animal Health Records. However, since this publication more firings in the coming days or weeks are expected.
From Transparency we repeat the same as nº44 a year ago:
"From Veterinaria Digital we call on the new government and regent’s authorities become aware of the importance of those who remain in the institution carry out their duties with vocation of service to the country and the agri-food sector. We must consider that global growth forecasts this sector indicate a growth of 100% over the next 20 years and this requires an area of Animal Health adapted to changing times in technology and transparent and effective procedures”
Today we extend this requirement to the University of Panama, the City of Knowledge, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama, the Panamanian Association of Veterinarians and the Minister of MIDA, in order to review and updating of legislation, with particular emphasis on what refers to administrative and scientific procedures, working in Animal Health Measure improving the transparency and efficiency of this important area of the Panamanian government."