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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica's OIJ Raids SETENA Offices Over Alleged Permit Irregularities

Costa Rica’s OIJ Raids SETENA Offices Over Alleged Permit Irregularities

Early this morning, agents of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) conducted a series of raids at the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA) due to alleged irregularities and fees in the issuance of permits. The director of the OIJ, Randall Zúñiga, confirmed that several officials, including the Secretary General of SETENA, had been detained. In total, nine people are involved in the case.

“Among them is the Secretary General with the last name of Álvarez. Also, another important official by the name of Kenneth and a woman named Magda, who is also part of the investigations,” detailed the police chief.

Additionally, the director pointed out that when a permit is required, individuals or consulting firms must be hired to carry out the procedures, thereby obtaining a permit for a third party. However, in this case, according to Zúñiga, the officials themselves “actively collaborated” in obtaining the permits to apparently favor some companies.

“Apparently, what these people were doing is that they were providing all the tools, all the inputs so that the permits could go through completely smoothly without any problems,” added the OIJ director.

The crimes under investigation by judicial authorities are bribery (both active and passive), influence peddling, and the penalty for the corrupter. “This is an issue related to permits being granted to various individuals interested in undertaking construction projects. Apparently, what we have is that these individuals facilitate or collaborate with people who want to obtain these permits and provide them with the means and resources,” Zúñiga explained.

It is not ruled out that there were payments, and as part of the proceedings, the authorities seized cell phones to investigate. The case is known as “Caso Comején” (Termite Case), named because termites eat or destroy wood, as explained by the OIJ director.

As the investigation progresses, the authorities are expected to provide more details about the case, the possible crimes committed, and those involved.

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