Casa Presidencial found itself among four government agencies under investigation by the Assistant Prosecutor for Probity, Transparency and Anti-Corruption (FAPTA) following President Luis Guillermo Solís’ denunciations in his 100-day report on the state of the government in late August.
The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to The Tico Times by email that the FAPTA would open a criminal investigation in conjunction with the Judicial Investigation Police into allegations spanning Casa Presidencial, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL), the Education Ministry (MEP), and the Pacific Port Authority (INCOP). If charges are filed, they would be the first criminal prosecutions to follow the president’s campaign promise to root out corruption and mismanagement in public administration.
These are the four cases FAPTA decided to pursue after reviewing the 100-day assessment by the president’s office:
- President Solís named Casa Presidencial in his jeremiad of government waste and possible crime on Aug. 28, lamenting that 117 vehicles registered to the president’s office had simply gone missing. “Frankly, I don’t believe, and neither should you all, that they have been stolen, but the truth is no one knows where they are,” Solís said during the presentation of the report.
- INCOP is under investigation for spending ₡2.4 million — roughly $4,400 — every month to maintain a luxury beach home in the northwestern province of Guanacaste for the discretional use of the Port Authority’s president, Jorge Luis Loría. INCOP was also criticized for paying more than $110,000 annually for an office where only four people worked.
- FAPTA also is looking into CNFL for paying some employees high salaries to lead departments that had no employees at a time when the public electricity company was running a ₡25 billion deficit – more than $46 million.
- Under the leadership of former Education Minister Leonardo Garnier, MEP is under investigation for employing a group of consultants who allegedly charged so much overtime that they practically doubled their salaries. Garnier defended the hours billed in an interview with the daily La Nación.
Casa Presidencial and CNFL did not respond immediately to The Tico Times’ request for comment.
The president said that the country had lost $112 million to corruption during the last decade.