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Saturday, January 15, 2022

Chief Prosecutor to resign over Costa Rica ‘cochinilla’ scandal

The Chief Prosecutor of the Costa Rica, Emilia Navas announced on Friday that she will resign and retire in August, after criticism of her inability to prosecute major cases. 

During her three-and-a-half years in office, Navas has had to recuse herself from eight proceedings due to conflicts of interest; the “Cochinilla” scandal, involving alleged bribes to government officials in exchange for infrastructure contracts, would have been the ninth.

Navas’s husband is a lawyer representing MECO, one of the construction companies accused of bribing government officials.

Navas will take a vacation starting July 13, effectively making that her final day in office.

“As of [Friday] and until July 12, I will dedicate myself to making the corresponding reports to make the transition from the position to the deputy prosecutor [Warner Rafael Molina Ruiz],” Navas explained in a written statement.

“Later, between July 13 and July 24 In August, I have asked the Presidency of the Supreme Court to take the vacation period that corresponds to me, to make my retirement effective as of August 25, 2021.”

In her statement, Navas added she had “demonstrated my ethical and moral competence, both in my private life and in my professional practice,” throughout decades of work in the Judicial Branch.

She explained that her resignation is to avoid distractions from the “essential” fight against corruption.

Navas was elected as Costa Rica’s first female Chief Prosecutor in 2018 after her predecessor was suspended in relation to a different investigation of alleged corruption.

At the time, Navas said that corruption and organized crime would be her priorities during her term, which would have ended in 2022.

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