Ottón Solís (left) meeting with Luis Guillermo Solís in February. Legislator Solís says President Solís said the president has a strong ethics and will not allow conflicts of interest. | Photo: Luis Navarro for La Nacoin.
Ottón Solís (left) meeting with Luis Guillermo Solís in February. Legislator Solís says President Solís said the president has a strong ethics and will not allow conflicts of interest. | Photo: Luis Navarro for La Nacoin.

COSTA RICA NEWS – The man would be president, running several times as presidential candidate until giving up his presidential aspirations of the 2014 elections,  legislator and founder of the Partido Acción Cuidadana (PAC), Ottón Solís, is calling for the removal of two people from the President’s influence of power.

Legislator Solís argues ethical reasons for his call for the removal of vice-minister to the Presidency, Daniel Soley and Iván Barrantes, a consultant on the government’s image and communications.

Soley is being criticized  for when in 2008, acting as deputy Ombudsman, he presented an appeal to force the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) to purchase a pneumococcal vaccine. The Constitutional Court ruled and ordered the purchase , which was made from the Wyeth company, run by Soley’s sister, Carolina Soley and her husband, Adriano Arguedas Mohs.

“You can not allow a person who has used his public office to promote, in any way, his family business, and holding the position as his has today at the Casa Presidencial,” says the legislator with respect to Soley.

As to Barrantes, legislator Solís, cites that the consultant may have a possible conflict of interest, working pro bono in an office at Casa Presidencial, yet, while providing consulting advice to four private firms, three national and one foreign.

“That a person so close to power and is paid by private interests from outside, has the potential for a conflict of interest risk,” said legislator Solis.

The request by legislator Solís has hit a brick wall.

President Luis Guillermo Solís (no relation to legislator Solís) has responded with a flat no way.

“I have decided to maintain in place the vice-minister, whose participation in the events described seem directly related to the position he served … he met his functional obligations and not motivated by a nefarious conflict of interest”, said the President in his response to legislator Solís.

Where the situation gets sticky for President Solís is in respect to Barrantes, given the contradictions between the consultant and the Ministro de la Presidencia, Melvin Jiménez, who is also under the firing gun of legislators who want him removed from office for being a Bishop of the Lutheran Church.

Barrantes on Tuesday of this week told La Nacion that he in fact provides paid consulting services to private interests, while working out of an office at Casa Presidencial. The consultant also confirmed that as strategist for the President Solís campaign he received ¢75 million colones from the PAC party.

However, minister Jiménez, assures that Barrantes does not work for the President and only uses the office to prepare “future” consulting.

The minister also said he was unaware of Barrantes’ customers, saying “we will make sure he doesn’t get into any conflict of interest.”

Source: La Nacion