Sunday 22 May 2022

‘Cochinilla’, the case that keeps on dragging

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QCOSTARICA – The Fiscalía Anticorrupción  (Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office) requested to extend the preventive detention against businessmen Carlos Cerdas and Mélida Solís, owners of MECO and H. Solís respectively, for up to six more months while the ‘Cochinilla’ case of alleged corruption in public works is investigated.

Carlos Cerdas (left) and Mélida Solís (right) continue in preventive detention after their respective US$5 million and US$3 million bond were annulled. Photo: archive

This was confirmed on Monday by the Criminal Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of San José, and by the lawyers of both accused.

Read more: “Cochinilla” opens the doors for smaller companies to build public works

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The custodial measure against both Cerdas and Solís expires this Saturday, March 26.

Erick Ramos, attorney for Carlos Cerdas, pointed out that his client has spent eight months in prison and the Prosecutor’s Office has not yet advanced with the interviews with witnesses.

Érick Gatgens, from the legal team of Mélida Solís, mentioned that it is not justified under any point of view to extend the preventive detention.

Both Cerdas and Solís were arrested in June last year, along with more than 30 others, including public officials are being investigated in the case for the alleged crimes of bribery, embezzlement, embezzlement, illicit association, influence peddling and ideological falsehood.

Read more: MECO and H. Solís may continue to participate in public works by Conavi

Initially, both the owner of MECO and H. Solís were able to avoid preventive detention (jail) by posting bonds or guarantees in the amount of US$5 million and US$3 million, respectively, which was later annulled by the same Criminal Court for not being proportional to the amount allegedly defrauded, according to the thesis of the Ministerio Público (Prosecutor’s Office) and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).

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The “Cochinilla” case derives from an alleged corruption scheme, for payment of bribes to public employees of MOPT and Conavi, who received these gifts from the MECO and H. Solís construction companies, two of the largest road builders in the country.



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