QCOSTARICA – A San Jose court ruled that Carlos Cerdas and Mélida Solís, accused in the “Cochinilla” case, can leas jail (preventive detention) by agreeing to house arrest, wear an ankle bracelet, and post a bond of US$10 million and US$5 million, respectively.
Cerdas, owner of the MECO and Solís, owner of H. Solís construction companies have been in preventive detention for the last month after their arrest and the Juzgado Penal de Hacienda y de la Función Pública (Criminal Court of Finance and Public Function) revoked the original bond agreement.
The relaxed measures were ordered on Friday despite the fact that the Fiscalía (Prosecutor’s Office) requested that preventive detention be extended for six more months.
It is possible that the suspects could leave their jail cells as early as Monday, the 48 hours imposed by the court to post the bonds.
During the week, hearings were held to discuss the precautionary measures of the other 28 people arrested on June 14 of last year for alleged corruption in public works contracts with the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi).
The lawyers Cerdas and Solís, previously argued that the initial conditions of the case underwent strong changes, for which the imprisonment issued against their clients was not justified.
Erick Ramos, defending Carlos Cerdas, told the press this week that his client, using a sports metaphor, suffered a “bench penalty” or early penalty, since the precautionary measure was “exaggerated, disproportionate and unnecessary.”
Ramos argued that his client remained deprived of liberty under the assumption of a fraud close to ¢78 billion colones, “but in all these months it has been shown that this is false and now the Public Ministry says that the damage is not important”.