Photo of the Policia de Transito delegation in Zapote
Photo of the Policia de Transito delegation in Zapote

QCOSTARICA  – A traffic official may spend from two to eight years in prison, if found guilty, for demanding a bribe from a driver.

The official, identified by his last name, Zamora, as arrested at the Transito offices in Zapote on Wednesday.

According to the complaint filed with the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), the driver (whose name has not been  made public), said the traffic official had his hand out for bribe, in lieu of a ¢225,000 colones traffic fine.

The driver, in his statement, said he told the official he had committed no violation, but the official maintained his position, mentioning to the driver of the possibility of “reaching a settlement given the high fine.”  The driver said he told the official he had no money on him, to which the official suggested if he (the driver) had plastic, they could go to an ATM. The amount of the alleged bribe was not reve

The incident occurred last March 15, in the area of the Zapote rotonda.

This is not the first time Zamora has been suspected of extorting bribes from drivers. Javier Quesada, head of the OIJ office specializing in Traffic Affairs, said in 2014 the official had been suspected of abuse of authority.

Sonia Monge, deputy director of the Policia de Transito, confirmed that her office had supplied OIJ investigators all information related to Zamora, who has been on the job for over five years.

The official is being charged with extortion, defined as an act committed by a public official who receives a financial benefit for himself or for a third part in the performance of his duties. Under the Penal Code, the punishment of the offence is from two to eight years in prison.