San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

EBI Consultant Refuses to Testify

A consultant and former commission agent of the waste-management firm Berthier EBI refused to testify last week before a legislative commission investigating allegations that San José Mayor Johnny Araya accepted kickbacks in exchange for awarding a multimillion-dollar contract to EBI, the daily La Nación reported.

Despite police efforts, the consultant, Eduardo Uriarte, could not be located to testify before the commission regarding his knowledge of a document allegedly disclosing the transfer of payments totaling $112,800 from EBI to Araya and other municipal advisors and council members.

EBI manages the capital s only landfill in La Carpio, in western San José (TT, July 22).

According to legislative documents, Uriarte told the Prosecutor s Office on Aug. 23 that EBI general manager Juan Carlos Obando personally gave him the list of payments allegedly made between 1999 and 2001 (TT, Sept. 9).

Uriarte has been notified on four previous occasions to testify before the legislative commission on public spending, and this time legislators asked for the help of the police, La Nación reported.

Police officials called and visited Uriarte s house, but to no avail.

Legislators are again calling for his testimonyin February.

Obando and Araya both deny the allegations, saying the document is fake and threatening to sue La Nación, which broke the story and published the document.


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