QCOSTARICA – Construction companies investigated for alleged acts of corruption with road maintenance programs may continue to participate in bidding contests promoted by the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – the National Highway Council.
This after Conavi eliminated the clause that limited the participation of the companies accused in court cases for alleged acts of corruption in the execution of public works contracts.
The impediment had been established in the legal conditions established by Conavi in the contest that it promotes in the Sistema Integrado de Compras Públicas (Sicop), the integrated public procurement system, to contract works in different regions of the country.
According to the original contracting guidelines, the prohibition to participate was extended to subcontractors offered within the bid presented that carry out works on pavement, gravel, or dirt.
The justification for preventing companies under investigation from competing was that there would be a high risk that they would not be able to complete the contracted works, as precautionary measures could be set for them that would affect the execution capacity.
However, by the reversal, these companies are enabled to participate in both the small works and the road maintenance tenders promoted by Conavi.
Representatives of MECO and H. Solís had warned about the illegality of their exclusion, by justifying that the principle of presumption of innocence was being infringed, since the process is only in the investigation phase, in addition, there is no precautionary measure that would prevent them from continuing to contract with the State.
MECO and H. Solís were splattered by the Cochinilla case and their owners, Carlos Cerdas and Melisa Solis, respectively, are in preventive detention (remand) as a precautionary measure, while the judicial police and prosecutors are moving forward with the investigation.
The Cochinilla case investigates an alleged corruption scheme that would involve public officials and businessmen who, according to judicial investigators, to the tune of ¢78 billion colones for road projects other than those initially set out.
It should be noted that both construction companies have been awarded the majority of road contracts promoted by Conavi for various years, becoming two of the most important public road works companies, both at the national and municipal level, in the country.
In the case of MECO, it is also linked to the latest corruption case, the Caso Diamante, that led to the detention of six municipal mayors and a representative of the MECO company, among others. Read more: Johnny Araya and five other mayors arrested for alleged corruption with road works