San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Immigration Head Installs Anti-Corruption Cameras

Authorities at the Immigration Administration are using video cameras to send a message to the institution’s officials: someone is watching you.

Immigration Director Mario Zamora announced recently that closed-circuit cameras had been installed at the headquarters in La Uruca, in northwestern San José, as part of an effort to curtail corruption on the part of officials, as well as lawyers and clients, according to the daily La Nación. Similar cameras are now being installed in Immigration’s offices throughout the nation.

“We think it’s necessary to control officials’ actions to improve service and as a show of public transparency,” Zamora told the daily.

Footage captured by the cameras, placed in strategic positions such as the windows where passports, visas and residency permits are processed, could be used in criminal cases against officials accused of corruption.

Since Zamora took office in May 2006, 187 accusations of corruption have been filed against Immigration officials. Zamora himself became the center of attention earlier this year after reports that he refused to accept a hefty bribe from leaders of a Chinese network of human traffickers that police later busted (TT, Jan. 19,March 9).

Zamora refused to disclose the cost of the new camera monitoring system, though he noted that previously unused cameras and equipment already owned by Immigration are being used, thus reducing the cost.

Some of the cameras will be hidden, while others will be visible, according to La Nación.


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