Costa Rica’s Prosecutor General retires from office after attacks on her administration

The Prosecutor General has received a series of questionings and attacks on her administration after it became known that her husband, Francisco Campos, is defense counsel for of MECO, one of the companies accused of corruption.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Prosecutor General of Costa Rica, Emilia Navas, advised this Friday, June 25, that she is leaving her position to take her retirement after attacks on her administration for refraining in a corruption case in which her husband is the defender of those involved.

Navas indicated in a message sent by the Public Prosecutor’s Office that as a result of the case called “Cochinilla”, “a series of personal attacks and against the institution” have been unleashed. In contrast, she says she has always acted in an “upright and honest” way and “ethically and morally”.

Emilia Navas. (Photo internet reproduction)
Emilia Navas. (Photo internet reproduction)

“Despite this, with the purpose of not weakening the function of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the commendable work of the Prosecutor’s Office for Probity, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption, and in order not to distract attention from the essential, that is, the frontal fight against corruption, I have decided to accept the retirement to which I am entitled,” the document quotes.

The Attorney General has received a series of questionings and attacks on her administration after it became known that her husband, Francisco Campos, is the legal defender of MECO, one of the companies involved in the corruption case.

From today until July 12, the prosecutor will dedicate herself to make the reports to make the transition of the position to the deputy prosecutor. Subsequently, between July 13 and August 24, she will have a vacation period to make her retirement effective August 25, 2021.

“Upon assuming the position of Prosecutor General of the Republic, more than three and a half years ago, I sought to instill the highest standards of probity, transparency, and legitimacy in the functions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which generated new and more transparent management models,” the statement says.

She adds: “The road has been long and difficult. However, I am convinced that it has been worth it because we have a stronger Public Prosecutor’s Office, functionally independent and combative of acts of corruption that hit the country and affect the common welfare”.

THE CASE

On Monday, June 11, the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office for Probity, Transparency, and Anticorruption (FAPTA) and the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) carried out 57 raids. It arrested 30 suspects for forming a corruption network in awarding contracts for the construction and maintenance of road infrastructure.

The companies investigated are MECO, H.Solís, ITP, CASISA, Constructora Herrera, Constructora Montedes, and Alsofrutales. Also under investigation is the presidential infrastructure advisor Camilo Saldarriaga, who was not arrested but whose house and office in the Presidential House was raided.

The Prosecutor’s Office describes the case as “a criminal group dedicated to the commission of corruption crimes to obtain undue benefits in the contracting processes and contractual execution of public works.”

The Public Prosecutor’s Office investigates the alleged crimes of bribery, influence peddling, and swindling to the detriment of the State.

The case ranges from the alleged payment of bribes to the National Roads Council officials to the apparent diversion of public funds from one infrastructure work to another to benefit contractors. The OIJ states that the case involves close to US$120 million.

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