(CNN Espasol) – In Costa Rica, officials conducted 57 inspections, including the Presidential Palace and 13 public institutions, including the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the National Highway Council (NHC). Walter Espinosa, director of the Judicial Intelligence Agency (OIJ), told local media on Monday that they were investigating possible corruption in public works related to public works construction and the safety and maintenance of the road network.
In a statement, the Deputy Attorney for Probability, Transparency and Reaction (FAPTA) said an action was being taken in an office of the presidency occupied only by presidential advisers, not ministers or members of the supreme powers. This was confirmed to CNN by the presidency.
“Evidence to be obtained on these sites include documents, electronic equipment and other relevant evidence for processing, mandated by law in this type of activity and the presence of a criminal judge of warranties at each location”. The attorney’s office explained.
According to Espinosa, crimes such as bribery, fraud, irregular payment of administrative contracts, influence, fraud, illegal association and fraud and ideological lying are being investigated.
Espinoza said that since 2019, the Attorney General’s Office and the OIJ have “received firm and direct complaints” about the existence of a panel of public officials who are said to be “cooperating with officials, members, representatives and owners of the most top private companies”. Usually earned judgments ”and are said to commit financial fraud in favor of certain projects and the public, in addition to affecting the public treasury.
Officials expected the raids to be carried out on private companies and private homes. About 28 people have been detained, OIJ told CNN. Espinoza had announced that they would be prosecuted for crimes such as bribery, fraud, irregular payment of administrative contracts, influence, fraud, illegal association and fraud and ideological lying.
The director of the OIJ also pointed out that there is a “budget gap” between 2018 and 2020 created by irregular transfers of about 78,000 million gallons (just over $ 126 million). “This does not mean that the money was stolen, but that it was fraudulent. They used it for a variety of purposes without authorization, and this has created a conducive environment for bribery, ”Espinoza explained.
The official said the move was one of the most important in the recent history of the ministry.
In a statement, the Costa Rican president said, “This has given the judiciary all the co-operation in the investigation they are carrying out.”
CNN has contacted the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Konavi for a response.
This is the second raid on the Presidential Palace during the Carlos Alvarado government. First, in February 2020, the Presidential Data Analysis Unit was part of an investigation to determine whether access to confidential data of citizens was possible. Alvarado, who appeared before Congress, denied intelligence and defended himself. “The data were never used for electoral purposes or to benefit third parties. Public funds were not misused and they always operated under the legal framework,” he said. The so-called UPAT case did not end, and the trial was adjourned until the end of January because several defendants’ defendants filed technical appeals before the Third Room, which did not resolve them. While the file was in that room, the attorney’s office told CNN this Monday.
– This report was contributed by Dijen Villanueva.