Monday 2 October 2023

MOPT requests investigation against five supervisory companies questioned in the Chochinilla case

Companies involved in the alleged corruption scandal were responsible for ensuring the quality of the State's construction works.

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QCOSTARICA – The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT)  – Ministry of Public Works and Transportation – asked the Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (ECA) to open an investigation against five supervisory companies involved in the alleged corruption scandal, known as the Cochinilla Case.

Companies involved in the alleged corruption scandal were responsible for ensuring the quality of the State’s construction works. According to the file in the Cochinilla Case, two of them falsified data on the asphalt quality of the Garantia Sociales overpass in Zapote, built by MECO. Photo: Jorge Castillo.

The request before that organization, in charge of issuing the accreditation to the companies that control the quality of public works, was made by the representative of the MOPT, Pedro Meckbel, with the support of the Minister, Rodolfo Méndez Mata.

At the minister’s discretion, the MOPT could cancel licenses to companies found guilty of making up the quality of public infrastructure, so that they cannot participate in future tenders.

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“The initiative of the MOPT representative before the ECA is very important in order to order an investigation into the questioned supervisory companies, so it is essential to support this effort.

“So that, in the event that facts disclosed by the press regarding the quality of the works and the role of these companies are confirmed, they lose their accreditation to participate in the development chain of public works in Costa Rich,” affirmed Méndez.

The companies investigated are: Compañía Asesora de Construcción e Ingeniería (Cacisa); Diseño, Inspección y Consultoría en Carreteras y Obras Civiles (Diccoc); Ingeniería de Pavimentos (LGC), and MSD Consultores y Constructores S.A.

A procedure was also opened against Técnica de Proyectos (ITP), which the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) suspects that it was created by the MECO construction company to “make up” alleged deficiencies in its works, noted in the Chochinilla case file as “practically another department within the MECO structure”.

The ITP supervised the construction of the new overpass of the Garantia Sociales, in Zapote, built by MECO, which has serious deficiencies according to a report from the National Laboratory of Structural Materials and Models (Lanamme).

The owners of the MECO, Carlos Cerdas Araya, and H. Solis, Mélida Solís Vargas, construction companies, two of the largest road builders in the country, are facing charges of corruption, among others, and are currently free on bail after posting US$5 million and US$3 million, respectively, following their arrest the middle of June.

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