It was revealed that the Assistant Public Prosecutor of Panama, at the request of Luis Cucalón, general manager of tax revenues, has made two wiretaps and that 130 criminal charges were filed against taxpayers over the past three years. All this happened during a meeting that the APEDE, Panamanian Association of Business Executives, held with the same Luis Cucalón.
Although no details were divulged, it is known that certain phone calls between public officials and taxpayers were wiretapped. It also seems that the complaints have been made for tax evasion.
In a press release, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) of Panama said that in 2010, with the permission of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Public Prosecutor had carried out the interception of mobile phones of several public officials indicated by some taxpayers for bribes collected, undue exemptions and accounts deleted. The press release stated that the officials involved had been dismissed and denounced.
During the meeting with the APEDE, Cucalón explained the new law, prepared by the National Authority of Public Revenue (ANIP), that seeks to give autonomy and that tends to give ANIP a budget of 1% of the revenues of the previous year.
Applying this percentage to 2012 revenues, which were USD 4.7 billion, the ANIP’s budget would then be USD 47 million, while the current one would be USD 15 million. Luis Cucalón was asked what he would then do with the additional USD 32 million and he replied that what the ANIP would not spend will be returned to the State until it will know how to use the additional budget also to pay its staff better and avoid then bribery and tax evasion.