Controversy Erupts Over Broken Police Trucks

July 7, 2006

The 2001 purchase of 46 Romanian pick-up trucks for police patrol vehicles during the former administration has brought a rain of criticism and questions as it was revealed recently that most of the vehicles did not even work when they arrived in the country, and the rest have since broken down beyond repair. Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal recently filed a complaint with the Chief Prosecutor’s Office regarding purchase of the patrol vehicles.

In spite of the state of the vehicles, 32 were approved for use only days before the inauguration. On the day of the inauguration of the new vehicles, some had to be towed from the Public Security Ministry garage. Authorities spent ¢8 million ($15,560) on repairs.

The vehicles had a manufacturer’s guarantee for 75,000 kilometers, however not one made it past 3,000 kilometers, the daily said.

The daily La Nación reported this week that for reasons that are unclear, the ministry allowed the warranty to expire, making it impossible to collect the $33,100 guarantee deposited at the now-defunct Elca Bank.

The trucks were sold to the Public Security Ministry for $651,000 by Automotores Europeos de Centroamérica, a business with no experience selling vehicles to the state and that was formed four months before the contract was put up for bid by the government, La Nación reported.

The vice-president of the company who signed the contract for the vehicles, along with the then-Minister of Public Security Rogelio Ramos, is Carlos Alvarado, currently detained and under investigation for fraud, illicit association and fraudulent administration in connection with an investigation of irregularities in banking practices by Elca Bank.

The Public Security Ministry filed a civil suit against the company during the former administration under Ramos, however an official from the Government Attorney’s Office reportedly told Ramos that recovering the money would be nearly impossible because the defendants did not have assets that could pay off the damages.

 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah
sports
94 views
sports
94 views

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 25, 2018

Part III in a series on adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I, about the country's association for disabled…

It’s frog orgy season
Environment and Wildlife
1195 views
Environment and Wildlife
1195 views

It’s frog orgy season

Lindsay Fendt - May 25, 2018

The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa…

Costa Rica’s guilty voters
No Sugar Please
161 views
No Sugar Please
161 views

Costa Rica’s guilty voters

Álvaro Murillo - May 25, 2018

By what I have done, and by what I have left undone. A relative of mine is 70 years old…