Ministry Says Commission

November 12, 2004

THE Ministry of Public Works andTransport (MOPT) has formed a three personcommission to study the controversialgovernment contract with RiteveSyC, which gives the company a virtualmonopoly on mandatory technical vehicleinspections in Costa Rica.The commission will study theprocess by which the Spanish-CostaRican firm Riteve was selected and willlook for possible irregularities, accordingto the ministry. If it merits, the contractcould be annulled, new TransportMinister Randall Quirós said.The commission includes electricaland mechanical engineer Eduardo Guillénand lawyers Hernán Esquivel and VirgilioCalvo, professors at the University ofCosta Rica.The commission will have 50 days tostudy Riteve’s selection process and thecontract execution before turning its findingsover to the Comptroller General.Comptroller General Alex Solís hadannounced in September the 10-year contract,signed in 2002, is a monopoly (TT,Sept. 10), and referred the case to theConstitutional Chamber of the SupremeCourt (Sala IV).This week, however, the Sala IV ruledthe Comptroller’s opinion is not bindingand MOPT does not have to follow hisrecommendation to renogotiate the controversialcontract, according to the dailyLa Nación.The Riteve contract came under fireearlier this year and was the center of10 days of protests and roadblocks thatparalyzed the country. The NationalCivic Movement, made up of unionsand drivers’ associations, says the contractviolates the Constitution (TT, Aug.27, Sept. 3).The movement held another protestagainst Riteve Nov. 5, in which trucksand taxis caravanned 75 kilometers fromSan Ramón, northwest of San José, to theCasa Presidencial in southeast San José.

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