Friday 27 January 2023

Corrutption at the “Muni”: Vice Mayor of San José and 17 officials sanctioned

Office of the Comptroller General (CGR) ‘irregularity in contracting’ of ¢624 million in computer software purchases

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26 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Municipality of San José would have approved an “irregular contract” for ¢624 million (a little over US$1 million dollars) to acquire Microsoft software licenses (Open Value) through an “erroneous” tender in 2013.

Comptroller affirms the wrong choice of procedure for purchasing ‘software’. Those involved received between 15 and 30 days of suspension without pay, although the resolution is not yet final

That was the conclusion reached by the Office of the Comptroller General (CGR) last Wednesday, when it pointed out civilly and administratively responsible the vice-mayor, Mario Vargas Serrano, and other 17 officials/councilors at that time, including the current Deputy Director of immigration, Daguer Hernández, who at that time was a municipal councilor.

The vast majority were sanctioned with a suspension of 15 to 30 days without pay, in addition to an intimation of payment of just over ¢16 million from the firmness of the resolution.

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The resolution, however, is not final yet.

In fact, Vargas warned that he will raise all the necessary processes to defend himself, which could take up to seven years to any final resolution.

According to the CGR, it is presumed that there was a bad business decision and an incorrect selection procedure for the acquisition since an abbreviated tender was processed when apparently the correct thing was a public tender.

According to the CGR, in this way, there would have been a violation of the controls for larger purchases.

“It led to the omission of submitting the rigors and formalities of the ordinary procedure – public biddings – such as the recursive regime (objection and appeal) and the endorsement,” said the CGR in its report.

The investigated events occurred between May 2013 and June 2014.

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The contract was awarded to the Costa Rican company, Chami Centroamericana S.A. for a period of one year, extendable for up to three equal periods, for a maximum term of four years, at ¢156 million per year.

Among the others sanctioned are San Jose municipal councillors, Ulises Alexander Cano Castro, Reina Isabel Acevedo Acevedo, Patricia Marín Gómez, Sonia Zamora Bolaños (trustee), and Municipal officials Marco Castro Camacho and María Eugenia Rivera Araya, who currently continue in their positions.

Other names that appear in the file are: Jorge Douglas Quesada Altamirano, Flor María Zamora Álvarez, Rolando Luis Murillo Cruz, Flora Eugenia Bermúdez Salguero, Olger Lawson Marchena, Blanca Suñol Ocampo, Gioconda Ureña Leal, Mayela Prado Cubillo, Henry Francisco Contreras Zúñiga, Rocío Aguilar Guillén (the Municipality did not indicate if they continue in their positions).

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