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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

President Solís asks Prosecutor’s Office to review ethics report on former transport minister

President Luis Guillermo Solís’ campaign pledge to root out corruption in government might be starting to take shape this week. During a press conference Tuesday, the president said his office had sent a copy of the Comptroller General’s report investigating alleged ethics violations by former Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro to the Chief Prosecutor to determine if there are grounds for a criminal investigation.

The Comptroller’s report determined that Castro’s actions “generated doubt about his rectitude, impartiality, objectivity and transparency” when he did not alert members of the Administrative Council of the National Roadway Council about his former relationship with Compañía Asesora de Construcción (CACISA) and did not abstain from discussions or votes to grant CACISA contracts as part of the troubled 1856 Juan Rafael Mora Porras border roadway, also known as “La trocha.”

Castro served in former President Laura Chinchilla’s administration (2010-2014) from October 2012 until 2014.

Now that Castro is no longer a minister, he does not have impunity from prosecution. Tatiana Vargas, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told The Tico Times in an email that the documents would be sent Wednesday morning to the Deputy Prosecutor for Probity, Transparency and Anti-Corruption for review. No investigation has been announced against Castro.

The report dismissed another complaint filed against the former MOPT chief that he used his office to grant another highway concession to Brazilian contractor OAS, for whom he also worked as a consultant. OAS’ highway concession was ultimately cancelled following public outcry about the lack of transparency in the contracts and high tolls proposed. Chinchilla’s administration settled the cancelled concession with OAS, a Brazilian contractor, for $35 million in March.

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