A spat over how the nations chief prosecutor should be selected reverberated in the national press last week.
Lawmaker Bienvenido Venegas proposed a bill that would allow the Legislative Assembly to elect the prosecutor, now chosen by Supreme Court justices.
The bill would also oust current Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese, and it would restrict prosecutors’ access to public documents.
Lawmakers from all the major parties – including Venegas’ own Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) – rejected the idea.
Venegas is close to PUSC ex-President Rafael Angel Calderón Jr. (1990-94), who is under investigation by Dall’Anese for allegedly accepting large sums of money to arrange a multimillion-dollar government contract for the Costa Rican pharmaceutical company Fischel.
Calderón told the daily La Nación he wanted to see Dall’Anese removed from office, but he said he did not ask Venegas to present the bill.
Quoted by the daily La Nación, faction heads of the major political parties said the bill would politicize the prosecutor’s elections and threaten the separation of powers.
Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias said he had not seen the bill, but that he disagreed with any proposal that would “weaken the prosecutor’s office,” known in Spanish as Fiscalía General de la República.
PUSC President Luis Fishman, who sides with Calderón, told La Nación that the current system encourages chief prosecutors to make secret deals with judges. He could not point to any examples.
Dall’Anese was elected to a second fouryear term in November by 15 of Costa Rica’s 22 Supreme Court justices.
He is also investigating ex-president Miguel Angel Rodríguez (1998-2002) for allegedly accepting bribes from French telecommunications firm Alcatel.