Although he is not wanted, no charges have been laid against him and will not be arrested on his return, former ministro de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT), Francisco Jiménez, is a person of interest and Costa Rica’s Judicial authorities want to know where is.
Vinicio Zamora, lawyer for Jiménez, assures that his client left Costa Rica earlier this week on a planned family vacation and will be back in Ticolandia on Sunday (tomorrow).
The lawyer made the statement on Friday following accusations in the media and by Legislators that Jiménez fled the coop after the arrests of six involved in the corruption scandal with respect to the La Trocha, the border trail road along the south side of the San Juan river.
On Wednesday three businessmen and three former officials of the CONAVI (Consejo Nacional de Vialidad), including Carlos Acosta, former head of that institution.
The six have spent the clast couple of nights in the jail cells of the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) while the courts sort out the precautionary measures, that include up to six months of preventive detention.
If you will recall Jiménez stepped down – rather was asked to step down, ie fired, by Presidenta Laura Chinchilla – following the robbery of the weapons storage at the CONAVI offices earlier this year.
Although Jiménez has never directly accused of being part of what is called the biggest fraud against the state, the spending of millions on a trail road that was built without the appropriate environmental studies and proper road construction methods, a road that is already falling apart and practically useless for the small communities that it was supposed to serve, there have been rumours of his possible involvement.
The trail road was in direct response to the skirmish with Nicaragua over the ownerhsip of the Isla Calero, that put into question the navigation rights of the San Juan river that clearly belongs to Nicaragua, cutting off dozens of communities in the area. That case is before the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Judicial officials are emphatic that the request made to the International Police (INTERPOL) is solely to locate the whereabouts of the former minister Jiménez and that he is not to be detained in any way.
However, Jiménez may know best the workings of the county’s Judicial system and decided he would be better off out of the country, as it will be known tomorrow, Sunday, if in fact he does return from his “family vacation” or not.