- Photo via Judicial Investigation Organization -
Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
On Monday, agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization, OIJ, and officials of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office carried out a series of raids at several municipalities, private offices and houses, where six mayors, among other people, were arrested on suspicion of illicit enrichment and corruption.
The investigation, called “Diamante" (diamond in the English language), led agents to arrest 13 suspects in 84 raids that were carried out at the suspect's houses, municipalities, and companies linked to the case, among other places.
The Public Ministry reported the detained suspects were identified with the surnames:
· Araya-Monge, mayor of San José City.
· Córdoba-Soro, mayor of San Carlos Canton.
· Redondo- Poveda, mayor of Cartago City.
· Soto- Herrera, mayor of Alajuela City.
· Cole -DeLeón, mayor of Osa Canton.
· Barahona-Cortés, mayor of Escazú Canton.
· Boraschi- González, employee of the Municipality of Escazú.
· Chacón-Ugalde, employee of the Municipality of Alajuela.
· Suárez-Vásquez, employed of the Municipality of Golfito.
· Castro-Camacho, employee of the Municipality of San José.
· Gutiérrez-Vargas, employee of the MECO company.
· Cruz-Porras, employee of Explotec company.
· Mayorga-Mayorga, employee of Municipality of Golfito.
The suspects were taken to the cells of the Public Ministry, where they must wait for a judge to order the pre-trial measures against them for the alleged crime of illicit enrichment and corruption.
The investigations began in April 2020. Agents were able to determine that, allegedly, workers of private companies offered benefits to workers of at least eight municipalities in exchange for winning agreements on public infrastructure repairs.
According to Walter Espinoza, director of OIJ, they used the name "Diamante" in the investigation due to the expensive stone that has the highest hardness of any natural material. They use that concept for what a public employee should have "hard honesty" to avoid corruption temptation.
In the investigation, the agents found evidence that workers of private companies, allegedly, give benefits such as cash, vehicles, constructions in private properties, among others, to workers of the municipalities. These benefits were provided in exchange for winning agreements with the municipalities on infrastructure improvements in public areas. Investigators presume that there are at least 15 agreements that were awarded illegally.
In addition, the agents seized documentation, cell phones, files from the municipalities, among other important evidence for the investigation.
Currently, the Public Ministry investigates three other polemic cases of alleged corruption in public institutions. One, known as "Azteca," involves Water Institute workers. Another known as "Cochinilla," involves Ministry of Public Works employees. And another one is known as "Cementazo" which involves different employees of the Ministry of Public Works.
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