Road Works: Corruption Case Operative
Monday, June 14, 2021
In order to dismantle a network of apparent corruption that is accused of illegally obtaining contracts for road maintenance, authorities in Costa Rica conducted 57 raids that included homes, the Presidential House, the MOPT, the Conavi and the CTP.
On the morning of June 14, 2021, about 700 agents of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) and the Public Prosecutor's Office (Fiscalía) raided 21 dwelling houses, Presidential House, Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), National Viability Council (Conavi) and Public Transport Council (CTP).

The director of the OIJ, Walter Espinoza anticipated that this operative is part of a corruption case that began to be investigated since 2019 and is related to public corruption in matters of conservation and maintenance of the road network.

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Authorities suspect that construction businessmen and public officials have committed several crimes, including:

Bribery
Embezzlement
Irregular payments of administrative contracts
Influence peddling
Fund misappropriation
Illicit association
Swindling
Ideological falsehood

Apparently, the officials made agreements with businessmen to obtain contracts for road construction and road maintenance works.

During the operation carried out on the morning of June 14, the authorities sought to capture 19 government employees and 14 workers of private companies. As of midday Monday, 16 of the 33 people accused had been arrested.

Because the list of accused in this corruption case includes a man named Saldarriaga Jimenez, a person who is one of the closest advisors to President Carlos Alvarado, searches were made at the Presidential House.

The Presidency has already made a statement on the matter and explained in a press release that "... at 11:45 a.m. the judicial authorities concluded their search at the Presidential House in order to gather elements that may be related to the investigation they are carrying out, which began at 7:08 a.m. The search was focused on the office of a man named Saldarriaga Jimenez, who is one of the closest advisors to President Carlos Alvarado, who is the president's advisor. It was concentrated in the office of a presidential advisor, surnamed Saldarriaga Jimenez, who due to the nature of his functions has dealt with infrastructure and financial issues, and they also carried out the computer backups they considered pertinent."

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