Lesson: Careful who you recommend
From the print edition
Government Public Ethics Attorney Gilberth Calderón has handed down an embarrassing sequel to the resignations of former Finance Minister Federico Herrero and his wife, Flor Isabel Rodríguez, former consultant to President Laura Chinchilla.
Herrero and Rodríguez were forced to resign last April, when the local press revealed that a consulting company they own failed to declare on its income tax declaration $100,000 in consulting fees under government contracts.
Investigations by the ethics office have revealed that the consultancy in question by Herrero’s and Rodríguez’s company Procesos Investigación y Asesoría CA – contracted to “manage the institutional image” of the Costa Rican state-owned petroleum refinery RECOPE – were obtained with very high-powered recommendations.
Within the tendering process for awarding the consulting job to Procesos, Vice President Luis Liberman, Education Minister Leonardo Garnier, former Trade Vice Minister Amparo Pacheco, and Adrián Chinchilla, brother of President Laura Chinchilla, all wrote letters to RECOPE in favor of the company.
Aside from the obvious government insider pressure, which can be inferred from the positions held by these four persons, the tendering process only required testimony as to technical capacity of the company for the job. Apparently some of the letters went beyond capacity certification, one to outright recommendation.
The ethics office says recommendation is not allowed from government officeholders for public tenders. To make matters worse, other companies competing for the consultancy were from a completely unrelated field (hardware stores), adding to the impression of insider favoritism.
The Public Ethics Office report on the matter is only a declaration of fact and an opinion sent to President Chinchilla. She is not bound to act on the findings.
You may be interested
Victorious Champions coach celebrates Costa Rica-style: ‘This is pura vida’Katherine Stanley - May 27, 2018
Costa Rican superstar goalie Keylor Navas has made his mark on the field for Real Madrid, but also on the…
5 questions for Costa Rican artist Rossella MatamorosElizabeth Lang - May 27, 2018
Using art in all its possible expressions has motivated Rossella Matamoros for more than two decades. At home in Costa Rica…
Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Real Madrid nab third consecutive Champions titleKatherine Stanley - May 26, 2018
Costa Rica's star goalie, Keylor Navas, continued his historic march through world football as his club team, Real Madrid, won…