San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Investigation Continues Into Questioned Concession

Seven hectares in the northwestern Municipality of La Cruz, Guanacaste, continued to stir up controversy this week, with Comptroller General’s Office auditors heading to the scene Monday to investigate an Italian investor’s claims to the land.

The investor, Alessandro Malaguti, plans to build luxury condominiums on the property, according to the daily La Nación. However, the Public Security Ministry has opposed the concession, granted by the Municipality of La Cruz in 2003, because four hectares of the area are part of the Murciélago police base and academy.

The La Cruz Municipal Council voted Monday to annul the concession, the daily reported, a step that requires the municipality to hire an external consultant to examine the concession and determine whether it can be annulled.

In October, Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal ordered engineers Malaguti sent to the site to leave the property. Berrocal says the land has belonged to the ministry for 30 years, ever since it was expropriated from former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. The property contains a house that once belonged to him.

Malaguti proposed a compromise at a meeting with Berrocal on Monday – turning Somoza’s house into a museum and ensuring that investors help with improvements to the landing strip at the police base. However, Berrocal told La Nación that the proposal “is not viable, and I told them that in the meeting; they have been lands of the State for many years and it’s not negotiable.”


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