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Maritime Office Closes Amid Corruption Allegations

January 19, 2007

Amid allegations of corruption by two of its employees last week, the Municipality of Santa Cruz, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, shut down its Maritime Office.

The office deals with properties governed by the Maritime Zone Law and is a vital institution in this booming canton, which led the country in new construction in 2006, according to statistics from the Costa Rican Construction Chamber.

An ominous sign, tacked to the office’s padlocked doors, advised visitors seeking information on permits relating to construction or other activities within the public Maritime Zone, comprising the first 200 meters of coastline, to deal directly with José Alberto Padilla or Edwin Ortiz in the municipality’s Legal Affairs Office.

Two attendants in the Maritime Office, whose names were not released, are accused of “irregularities” regarding the permit process for properties at various Guanacaste beaches.

 

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