San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Mayor Argüello Sworn-In Amid Loan Scandal

A Managua city councilman is formally requesting that the Comptroller General s Office investigate allegations that Managua s new Mayor Alexis Argüello used a public loan from municipal funds to build his $100,000 Managua home while serving as vice-mayor of the capital in 2006.

City councilman Luciano García, of the Liberal Constitutional Party, sent a letter to Comptroller Guillermo Poessy demanding an investigation of how Argüello financed his homein Valle de Ticomo, following a report in the daily La Prensa alleging that Argüello paid for the house with a loan obtained from the city for social projects.

The investigation by La Prensa alleged that seven checks from municipal funds were used to pay construction company Urbanizadora Urroz Zamora Inversiones y Proyectos to built Argüello s house.

A three-time world boxing champion, Argüello served as vice-mayor of Managua under Mayor Dionisio Marenco, until he stepped down at the end of 2007 to launch his campaign for the mayor s seat.

Argüello, who was inaugurated last week as mayor of Managua despite unresolved claims that the Nov. 9 elections were rigged, has denied that he used public funds to finance his home.

In his letter to Poessy, García cited Article 8 of the Law of Probity of Public Servants, which prohibits public officials from using their public function for personal benefit against the state, and outlaws using state funds for ends other than that for which they were intended.

Taxes aren t paid for the purpose of constructing the house of (Argüello), García said in his letter.

The Comptroller s Office, whose president said last October that the Ortega government is without corruption, has yet to respond publicly to García s letter.

Blake Schmidt


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