Cellular Phone Purchase Suffers Another Blow

October 29, 2004

THE Constitutional Chamber of theSupreme Court (Sala IV) this weekrejected an appeal filed by the Swedishtelecommunications firm Ericsson,accused of having paid for hotel rooms ofofficials involved in selecting the firm fora contract with the state-run telecommunicationsmonopoly.The court also required that the CostaRican Electricity Institute (ICE) suspendany contract negotiations with the company,La Nación reported.Ericsson had appealed ComptrollerÁlex Solís’ Sept. 22 decision to notapprove the $130 million ICE-Ericssoncontract for 600,000 cellular phone lines(TT, Oct. 1).Alcatel, another major telecommunicationsprovider involved in what appearsto be a bigger corruption scandal involvingalleged bribes for a 2001 ICE contractfor cellular phones, announcedWednesday it has “fired two top officialsand has decided to present the correspondingdenunciations.”The company had already announcedit had fired Costa Rica manager EdgarValverde, who was arrested and orderedto preventive detention in connectionwith the scandal (TT, Oct. 15, 22).Press reports from the European wireservices EFE and AFP said an Alcatelrepresentative in Europe confirmed thatChristian Sapsizian, Alcatel’s vice-presidentfor Latin America who allegedlyauthorized the payments Valverde madeto Costa Rican officials, is the other officialfired.

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