San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Insurance Institute Fund Fuels Talk of Corruption

LEGISLATORS and the Costa Rican press this week denounced the existence of a $1.6 million fund created at the National Insurance Institute (INS) and allegedly used to finance trips and trainings without any apparent records or receipts.“We have been working on this case for three years and what some members of the press are doing now is merely confirming an open secret: the channeling of millions in funds without any institutional control,” legislator Laura Chinchilla told Radio Monumental.Chinchilla, a legislator for the National Liberation Party (PLN), referred to reports published Wednesday in the dailies La Nación and Al Día, revealing the alleged creation of a discretionary fund in 1997.Chinchilla said a legislative committee and the economic crimes division of the Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the matter.The fund for trips and trainings for employees of INS, which has a monopoly on insurance in Costa Rica, was allegedly created by overcharging for a reinsurance policy for Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) hydroelectric plants with the London insurance intermediary PWS International.Legislator Chinchilla also denounced former INS official Alvaro Acuña for “having stakes at a travel agency, the same one where the greater part of plane tickets were purchased for officials and their family members.”

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