Talamanca mayor, three others arrested on corruption charges

February 12, 2010

Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police officers (OIJ) arrested the mayor of Talamanca, Rugeli Morales, last Thursday morning on corruption charges, security ministry officials confirmed last week.

Talamanca is a municipality in the southern Caribbean region.

Morales, 45, was charged with directing ¢ 350 million ($641,000) in municipal funds to his personal bank accounts.

Authorities also arrested a city inspector, a municipal accountant and a mayoral advisor whose last names are Bastos, Cortés and Barrantes, respectively. The three have been charged with embezzlement of public funds, aggravated corruption of public officials, and activities incompatible with their public service. Prosecutors suspect that these three officials aided Morales.

OIJ officers and officials from the Adjunct Prosecutor´s office of Limón raided the Talamanca municipality building and Morales´ house on Thursday afternoon. Authorities removed bank documents that will be used as evidence against Morales and the three municipal employees.

The four city officials have been detained at the Bribri prosecutor´s office. On Friday they were interrogated for the alleged crimes.

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