Panama Papers transparency panel members quit amid concerns of government hampering

Panama Papers transparency panel members quit amid concerns of government hampering

Panama Papers transparency panel members quit amid concerns of government hampering A Nobel Prize-winning economist and a Swiss anti-corruption expert have quit a Panamanian government commission tasked with investigating the country’s financial industry, according to the Toronto Star.

Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, former committee chairman, and anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth, said the committee – set up in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal – wasn’t being given full independence.

In a letter to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Stiglitz and Pieth said they worried the government would hamper the panel’s investigations and keep its final report a secret, the Star reported. Stiglitz and Pieth wrote that the government wouldn’t commit to publicly release the panel’s final report, instead claiming that any findings would be the property of the government. The Panamanian government itself, the letter claimed, was to have “sole responsibility” for any public announcements.

“How can a group allegedly committed to transparency write a report that is not transparent?” Stiglitz said in an interview with the Star. “It would undermine our own credibility. Evidently they wanted us to be part of a charade to convince people they were serious when in fact they weren’t.”

In their letter to Varela, Stiglitz and Pieth said the committee should be disbanded, the Star reported. And Stiglitz said that he and Pieth were likely to issue their own independent report.

A spokesperson for the Panamanian government said that officials regretted the resignations, and that the government “understands both resignations” stemmed from “internal differences,” the Star reported.


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