Agents raid Costa Rica emergency commission amid fraud allegations

March 27, 2009

Agents from Costa Rica´s top anti-corruption prosecutor´s office restricted access to the headquarters of the National Emergency Commission (CNE) Tuesday as they conducted an investigation following allegations of fraud from the Citizen Action Party (PAC) and other groups.

According to a press release from the Casa Presidencial, the commission and its president, Daniel Gallardo, have agreed to provide “all the assistance and collaboration necessary…to advance the investigation.”

The Economic Crimes and Anti-Corruption Prosecutor´s office confirmed the raids but declined to say what – if any – specific documents the agents were searching for.

Gallardo, who will resign from the helm of CNE on April 13 for what he claimed were personal and health reasons, has been accused of awarding more than ¢3.7 billion (about $6.6 million) in contracts to two businessmen he was closely associated with prior to his appointment at CNE.

Political groups have also leveled accusations of negligent responses to the Jan. 8 earthquake that killed as many as 30 people.

Angered that the needs of many victims of the earthquake are still being ignored by the very agency created to address them, the PAC addressed a letter to President Oscar Arias Tuesday to make him aware of meager and unsanitary living conditions residents of the area continue to face.

Victims of the earthquake will protest at the Legislative Assembly Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

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