San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Prosecutors Investigate Public Housing Scandal

THE Prosecutor of Economic Crimes, Corruption and Taxation has opened an investigation of allegations that employees of the Agriculture Development Institute (IDA) gave 100 hectares of public land to one another and their families, the daily La Nación reported.


From 1995 to 1999, lots and farms ranging from 655 square meters to 99,000 square meters were awarded to at least 23 IDA employees and their brothers, mothers, husbands and children, according to an investigation by the daily (TT, Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 2005).


These farms were supposed to be sold at subsidized prices to poor Costa Rican campesinos. Most of the properties, which have a combined market value of $8.3 million, are located near the coastal highway along the Pacific that joins Orotina and Jacó.


The Prosecutor’s Office, with the help of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), is now determining whether IDA employees have committed embezzlement. Early last month, the Comptroller General’s Office also began investigating the case and closed down two IDA offices (TT, Dec. 9, 2005). A commission formed last month by the President’s Cabinet is also investigating.

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