(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 Investigation Agency (OIJ), told local media that they were investigating possible corruption in public works related to the construction of public works 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 the Public Officers’ Committee, which “usually collaborates with members, employees, representatives and owners of the highest private sector companies”, and that they are public. Not only does it affect the treasury, it is also said to commit financial fraud in favor of certain projects and people.
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 rather that it was fraudulent. They used it for different purposes without authorization, which created the conditions for bribery, ”Espinosa explained.
The official said the move was one of the most important ones the ministry has worked on in recent times.
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 February 2020, the Presidential Data Analysis Unit was part of an investigation to determine whether confidential data of citizens was accessed. Alvarado, who appeared before Congress, denied intelligence and defended himself. “The data were never used for election purposes or for the benefit of 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, as several of the 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.