Fumigating Halted, OIRSA Payments Questioned

September 1, 2006

Government investigations into alleged misuse of funds by the International Organization of Regional Agricultural Health (OIRSA) have yielded more allegations about financial irregularities in the transactions between the organization and the former Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), now the Production Ministry.

The ministry rescinded an agreement with the organization to fumigate vehicles at its frontiers and put a stop to the practice, claiming that OIRSA had been “using resources for purposes other than those outlined in the agreement” between the two organizations. The decision followed reports from the daily La Nación that OIRSA was allegedly misdirecting funds and using water to “fumigate” cargo. The government took over the fumigation services for the time (TT, Aug. 18).

OIRSA, an agricultural health agency that operates throughout Central America and Mexico, had been receiving ¢1.47 billion ($2.85 million) annually in Costa Rica, most of which was supposed to be used for fumigation, according to the daily La Nación.

Most of the funds came from fees charged for fumigating vehicles. Experts for the Production Ministry, formerly called the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), have said for several years that fumigating should be suspended because there is no “technical basis” for continuing them, La Nación reported.

La Nación reported this week that the money was being used to pay for assistance, salaries and bonuses for MAG officials in the last administration, a charge the officials say is exaggerated.

Last week, Oscar Manuel Gutiérrez, executive director of OIRSA, left his post in El Salvador. Representatives of the organization originally told La Nación Gutiérrez was dismissed, but later said he resigned.

It was not immediately clear whether investigations in Costa Rica had anything to do with Gutiérrez’s departure.

 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
110 views
sports
110 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
132 views
Human rights
132 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week
The Alvarado Administration
173 views
The Alvarado Administration
173 views

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week

The Tico Times - May 21, 2018

Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…