Figueres testifies in legislative probe
For nearly two hours, ex-President José María Figueres (1994-1998) appeared before the Legislative Assembly’s Public Spending Commission, where he stated – as he has many times before – that he “has a clear conscience,” because he never committed a crime and was never formally charged by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
Figueres repeated statements he previously made, saying that he never received a request to appear before any legal authority for the events surrounding a $900,000 payment he received from telecommunications company Alcatel, which sought business in Costa Rica.
Roberto Hidalgo, a business partner, and former National Liberation Party General Secretary Carmen Valverde also received $900,000 for their participation in contract negotiations that helped secure a concession contract for Alcatel with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The contract involved upgrading cellphone services to GSM technology. The French company won a $149 million contract from ICE, and a second one in 2002 for $109 million.
“The accusations against me were based merely on newspaper clippings and gossip,” Figueres said in response to persistent questioning from lawmaker Walter Céspedes, of the Social Christian Unity Party, and others.
Céspedes told The Tico Times that he was “unsatisfied with Figueres’ answers,” as “all of [Figueres’] contracts were verbal, and he never signed any documents.” Céspedes said the former president “deflected all questions” regarding criticisms that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office treated his case differently than the cases of former presidents Miguel Ángel Rodriguez (1998-2002) and Rafael Ángel Calderón (1990-1994), both sentenced for corruption in similar cases.
Lawmaker Yolanda Acuña of Citizen Action Party repeatedly stated that the Alcatel negotiations were part of a “corruption scheme.” In response, Figueres said he never participated in negotiations with Alcatel, and that he never spoke to any of ICE board members. “I was a hired as a consultant and that’s all I did,” he said.
You may be interested
Costa Rica extends tourist visas until November 18Alejandro Zúñiga - July 8, 2020
Costa Rica's Immigration Administration is offering foreigners extra flexibility as countries continue to restrict travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.…
Costa Rica coronavirus data for July 8, 2020Alejandro Zúñiga - July 8, 2020
Costa Rica confirmed 350 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 5,836 cumulative known cases, the Health…
Great deals on dental care in Costa Rica during COVID crisisDr. Peter Aborn / Goodness Dental - July 8, 2020
While Costa Rica's borders are scheduled to open on August 1, 2020, Costa Rican authorities have yet to announce the…