Thud! That’s the sound of the other shoe dropping in the case of the corruption riddled construction of the northern border road, Route 1856 or “La Trocha” as it is also referred to. And it was dropped by the Comptroller General’s Office filing charges against 21 officials and ex-officials.
An investigation by lawmakers in the Legislative Assembly was the first shoe, but it had no power of punishment — that is up to the courts. But the Comptroller has legal clout in putting a case on the court docket.
The year-long show in the Assembly Public Spending Committee, with testimony once per week (Tuesdays) was good theater but turned up few revelations and a lot of political maneuvering.
Parallel to the congressional probe, the judiciary and OIJ detectives have been combing confiscated books and computer hard drives, the real work in bringing to justice what will probably turn out to be trials that will go on for several years.
But let’s get to the all-star cast of characters right away, including the cream of the Chinchilla Administration and her National Liberation Party: Vice Minister of the Presidency and anti-drug czar Mauricio Boraschi, Vice Minister of Security Walter Navarro are two current officials.
Then there is the president of the National Emergency Committee Vanessa Rosales, former-Minister of Public Works (MOPT) Francisco Jimenez, ex-MOPT Vice Minister Maria Lorena Lopez and ex-Environment Vice Ministers Ana Lorena Guevara and Andrei Bourrouet.
A Comptroller process server trekked up Cuesta de Moras to the Legislative Assembly to serve papers to ex-CONAVI (highway engineering) director Carlos Acosta and two high CONAVI officials Miguel Ramriez and Manuel Serrano who were all testifying before the epic Spending Committee probe.
The cast also features Juan Carlos Pacheco, Roy Barboza, Jose Villalobos, Adolfo Ortiz, Orlando Esquivel, Mario Quesada, Antonio Caarvajal, Krysbell Rios, Enrique Angulo and Jorge Montero.
Ex-CONAVI director Acosta’s attorney petitioned Legislative Assembly President Victor Emilio Granados to separate three deputies from the probe. They belong to the three largest opposition parties to the National Liberation Party: Libertarian Patricia Perez, Social Christian Unity’s Walter Cespedes and Citizen Action Party’s Manrique Oviedo.
The three just happen to be the fiercest questioners and the most vocal critics of the border road mess on the Spending Committee. But committee chairperson Perez rejected the ploy and continued grilling witnesses about the chummy relations between CONAVI and the consulting firm CACISA.
But now Acosta has more to worry about than just embarrassment in front of lawmakers.