Monday 28 November 2022

Carlos Cerdas and Mélida Solís will spend five more months locked up

Judge on Tuesday extended the preventive measures in the Cochinilla Case until June 2022

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QCOSTARICA – Despite attempts to trade jail for house arrest or less, a judge has ordered the owners of the companies Meco and H. Solís, Carlos Cerdas and Mélida Solís, respectively, to spend five more months in preventive detention.

In the photo collage, to the lest Carlos Cerdas, owner of the MECO construction company and right, Mélida Solís, owner of the H Solís construction company, being shuttled to and from prison and court. On Tuesday, a judge ordered their stay in preventive detention will be for five months more while the investigation continues.

The decision by the Criminal Court of Finance of the five-month extension to all precautionary measures issued in June reached all the lawyers on Tuesday afternoon.

The order against Cerdas and Solís will now be in force until March 26, 2022, meaning they will remain in prison and that the rest of those involved will continue with the other measures, ranging from suspension of charges, an impediment to leaving the country, not communicating with witnesses and inability to approach their work sites. In addition, in the case of the so-called “MECO messenger”, Tobías Arce, will keep his electronic ankle monitor.

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“Once the proportionality of the precautionary measures has been consolidated, the extension of the same is considered necessary, since the investigation has not concluded and fundamental investigation procedures are lacking to resolve the legal situation of the accused.

“The Ministerio Publico (Prosecutor’s Office) indicates that specific procedures are lacking, such as the opening of evidence and expansion of reports, so it is considered that a period of five more months is more than reasonable for the prosecutor to conclude this stage,” says the signed resolution by Judge Juliana Jiménez Alpizar, who asks the prosecutor to expedite the missing proceedings.

Mélida Solís’ lawyer, Erick Gatgens, said they will appeal the ruling.

“It is contradictory, all our arguments were solid and we do not share the decision,” said the defense attorney, who added that in the case of the businesswoman, owner of H. Solís, her critical health situation should be taken into account, reasons that will continue to be explained. before the judicial authorities.

“Her stay in prison continues to represent a very high risk to her health and life, as her health continues to worsen due to the lack of conditions in the prison to attend to her delicate ailments,” added the defense attorney, regretting the decision and announcing that they will continue to request a change in the injunction to be enforced at home.

On his part, the defense attorney of the owner of Meco, Erick Ramos, also expressed his annoyance and dissatisfaction with the judge’s resolution, indicating that the media pressure and the electoral situation are “having an effect” on the case.

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“One does not cease to be surprised by situations that one considers contrary to the legal system, with all due respect I say so, but the lady judge withdraws from all the situations that were discussed the previous week at the hearing.

“Unfortunately, it is being resolved with criteria that one respects but that are in contrast to what the law establishes. Preventive detention must be exceptional and my client has known about the case since 2017 and has not caused any impact on the process,” Ramos said.

It should be mentioned that during the hearing last week, the same expert from the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) indicated that the investigation report is preliminary and that the damage caused cannot be accurately quantified.

Cochinilla Case

On June 14, the country woke up to the news of 57 ongoing raids and the subsequent arrest of 30 people involved in a criminal network created between Cerdas and Solís and public officials to obtain contracts for the construction of road works. They also revealed about costs and poor quality of the works executed.

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According to the judicial investigation, the Cerdas and Solís gave all kinds of bribes to officials in order to obtain information and privileged treatment in the bidding processes.

Money, travel, food, liquor and even sexual favors are part of the list of bribes, according to the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ).

The companies involved were raided in the case (Meco, H. Solís, Cacisa, ITP and Constructora Herrera. Also raided was Casa Presidencial, Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT

The hearing to define the future of the detainees lasted almost two weeks and it was on June 26 that the precautionary measures were issued, which, in the first instance, would last four months. In the case of the owners of the companies MECO and H. Solís, a bond payment was initially guaranteed; However, the possibility was annulled and since last July 19 they have been in preventive detention (remand).

Both have requested the change of measures.

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