Costa Rica News – Corruption in the government? Who is surprised?
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis is under fire after a report accused him of corruption for accelerating the legal process of Chinese cement imports in favor of businessman and Cementazo owner, Juan Carlos Bolaños.
The Special Commission trusted with monitoring state banks and transfers was alerted to various inconsistencies at the Banco de Costa Rica, or BCR, and launched a four-month investigation, publishing its final report Monday night.
According to the report, Director General of Customs Victor Morales, former Ministry of Finance Fernando Rodriguez and the Ministry of Economics were pressured by the president on at least six separate occasions to bypass normal procedure to facilitate the importation of products.
The statement implied that a series of meetings was held with the ministers, Bolaños and the president, and that Solis had been paid off by the businessman. The commission has requested the Ethics Office to review Solis’ behavior.
“It is absolutely false that the President of the Republic or the Governing Council have instructed the appointment of the General Manager of the Bank of Costa Rica, Mario Barrenechea, and there is no evidence to support it,” the president wrote on Facebook immediately after the report was published.
Later, in a video message to the media, Solis said he could state with the fullest confidence that he would never allow any act of “corruption, peddling or undue favoritism”, now or in the future.
“Let it be very clear: I have never instructed any official to violate the legal system or to intercede on behalf of a company or person in particular, whoever says otherwise lacks the truth,” Solis said Tuesday.
Bolaños is currently being held in preventative custody for his alleged role in the corruption scandal, along with the former manager of BCR and five other officials.
The judicial investigation is aimed at determining if there were crimes committed in the granting of credits for at least US$50 million to Bolaños, in which alleged irregularities have been reported.
The legislative commission also pointed out the ethical shortcomings of five deputies who allegedly aided Bolaños, and have asked for the resignation of the director of intelligence, Mariano Figueres, for his oversight in allowing the president to meet with the businessman.