QCOSTARICA – The intervention team of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – National Highway Council, created after the “cochinilla” scandal for alleged corruption in road works, presented the first report of findings to the Board of Directors last Thursday.
One of the main problems detected by the group in this first stage of analysis is the system that Conavi uses to serve the national road network, where the premise is “what is worst is served first.”
The Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and acting director of Conavi, Tomás Figueroa Malavassi, assured that this mechanism not only implies that more resources are spent but also favored situations such as those under investigation.
Figueroa explained that the modality used so far has been implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) since the 1980s, to plan the attention of the road network.
This system establishes that the roads with the greatest deterioration must be attended to immediately with periodic maintenance, which involves repairing the damage.
“It has been demonstrated that this is not the optimal concept when managing a network, because when the pavement is allowed to deteriorate to a certain point, the investment that must be made in that periodic maintenance can be four times or more than that which should have been made with routine (preventive) maintenance, he explained.
As he said, the appropriate thing would be to first conserve what is in good condition because they are lower-cost tasks and in this way, the larger investments can be attended as a budget is established and thus within a certain period of time it is possible to have the entire network in a good state.
This mismanagement has even been pointed out by the Comptroller General of the Republic, for which the group determined that it is something that cannot wait any longer.
“The issue of pavement management systems is mandatory, there is the bulk of the investment of Conavi’s resources; if we manage to implement the pavement system, that would help to contain situations that are under investigation,” he said.
In order to expedite this change, the team recommended regulating article 24 of the Conavi Creation Law, so that it is mandatory for road maintenance activities to use this proposal.
Said article establishes the regulations that MOPT and Conavi must follow for the attention of the road network.
Another of the actions presented by the group was to create a body that investigates not only the officials allegedly involved in the corruption case but to determine if there could be more people involved.
Figueroa also said that, in that first statement of results, it was the team that led to the recommendation to suspend payments of salaries to officials under investigation, that were separated from their functions, and their salary used to pay replacements or as savings if the functions can be filled by MOPT personnel.
The vice minister said that they have also given priority to the issue of road maintenance, since these works have been paralyzed for almost a year.
“What is being done is determining the way to contract basic activities such as patching, veneering, cleaning gutters and sewers,” he said.
For these urgent works, a period of up to three months was set and subsequently hiring by zones for periodic maintenance work on roads with greater deterioration would begin.
In addition, it was decided that emergency care for the next few months would be done through the figure of unpredictability.
In future reports, the interim director of Conavi advanced, issues related to the adjudications questioned in the Cochinilla Case would be analyzed, as well as the need to standardize contracts and contracting methods, simplify documents in order to have greater transparency and minimize objections. to the poster and appeals.
Initially, the supervisory body was created for a period of six months; however, that period could be extended.
The Conavi’s instruction is that said team should intervene the Management of Conservation of Roads and Bridges, the Management of Contracting of Roads and Bridges, the Directorate of Institutional Procurement, the Management of Acquisition and Finance and the Management of Legal Affairs Management.