San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Border route probe almost ends in fight

A probe by a legislative commission investigating alleged corruption in contracting procedures in the construction of a road on the border with Nicaragua was temporarily halted on Tuesday to calm a former engineer of the National Roadway Council (Conavi), who challenged a lawmaker to a fistfight.

Miguel Ramírez, one of the supervisors of the project, challenged National Liberation Party lawmaker Jorge Rojas after the legislator said that “all those involved in the case are corrupt.”

Ramírez stood from his chair and yell at Rojas: “Let’s take this outside so I can smack your … .” He was then removed from the Assembly by Manuel Serrano, another former Conavi engineer involved in the case.

Rojas said he “was not afraid to fight, but did not plan on leaving the Legislative Assembly.”

The embarrassing episode on Tuesday was the final interview for Ramírez and Serrano on the issue of alleged irregularities in the construction of Route 1856, a 160-kilometer road parallel to the San Juan River.

The last hearings of the year will take place next week. Lawmakers will reconvene in January.

Statements to lawmakers will be used as evidence by prosecutors who have attended all the probes in the Legislative Assembly.

Contact L. Arias at

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