San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former Roadway Council director denies responsibility for border road fiasco

Carlos Acosta, former director of Costa Rica’s Roadway Council (CONAVI) said Tuesday that “he never witnessed or participated in any wrongdoing or mismanagement of Route 1856,” a 160-kilometer, $44 million road along the Río San Juan, on the border with Nicaragua.

Acosta appeared before the Legislative Assembly’s Public Spending Commission, where he testified in a two-hour hearing with lawmakers.

“I had no relation with the decisions made on the construction of the route, and I had no knowledge of any irregularities or wrongdoing with the work,” he said. “The entire project was designed and ordered by former ministers José María Tijerino [public security] and Francisco Jiménez [public works and transport],” Acosta said.

Acosta also said that Manuel Serrano, another CONAVI official, was responsible for hiring engineering firms to build the road, and that it was physically “impossible” for [Acosta] to control the quality of the works and the amounts that companies were paid.

President Laura Chinchilla ordered Acosta’s dismissal on May 14, the same day investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office and Judicial Investigation Police raided CONAVI and National Emergency Commission offices, searching for evidence of the case.

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