PANAMA CITY, (Reuters) – A former head of the Panamanian supreme court was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges yesterday, the first time an active judge in the country has been sent to jail.
Alejandro Moncada was sentenced by a three-person committee made up by members of Congress after he pled guilty last month to charges of illicit enrichment as well as falsifying documents when he made his declaration of assets.
Moncada, 58, was forced to step down from the supreme court after it emerged he had bought apartments for some $1.7 million in cash without being able to justify where the money came from.
Under Panamanian law, supreme court judges can only be investigated by members of the national Congress.
Moncada, who had been due to sit in the court until 2020, was appointed by ex-President Ricardo Martinelli, a bitter rival of current President Juan Carlos Varela.