COSTA RICA NEWS – In a move that is expected to save the government ¢3.5 million colones yearly, the president of the Legislative Assembly, Henry Mora, confirmed the decision to eliminate GPS devices in 14 vehicles of Congress.
The move has upset the heads of the legislative factions for not have been informed of the decision that was made three weeks ago and saved the taxpayer some ¢14 million colones a year.
“Perhaps I missed it (…),” said Mora, in his reason for not having communicated the decision to the legislative heads.
The head of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) legislative group, Juan Luis Jiménez, said he was surprised and has asked that the GPS program be resumed. “All official cars should have the necessary controls to ensure the proper use of resources,” said the liberationist.
Rafael Ortiz of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) and Otto Guevara of the Movimiento Libertario (ML), confirmed that neither knew of the decision.
“It’s the wrong message to send, leading to a bad image,” said Guevara.
“I think it’s important that we are given a full explanation,” said Ortiz.
The head of the Frente Amplio (FA), Gerardo Vargas and the Partido Accion Cuidadana (PAC), Ottón Solís, agree that the decision to remove the control may lead to abuses by legislators who may use their official cars and drivers for personal purposes.
In 2012, former legislator for the Renocación Costarricense, Justo Orozco, was found travelling 514 kilometres for non official purposes on behalf of the taxpayers, which could be verified by GPS.
In 2013, the former independent legislator José Joaquín Porras was found using official cars on weekend trips, reporting itineraries different from that recorded on the GPS in the vehicles.
Speaking in favour of the measure was Renovación Costarricense head, Abelino Esquivel. The legislator added, however, that whom ever is responsible for managing the vehicles should some other mechanism to control their use.
The GPS devices had been installedon Legislative Assembly official vehicles since 2010.