October 11th, 2012 – Last year, “Hacienda” (Treasury department), collected approximately $718 million dollars from taxes it places on the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel in Costa Rica. Of that amount, 29% is allocated to CONAVI (National Road Council) and the 81 municipalities in the country exclusively for road repairs and improvements.
That 29% comes to more than $208 million dollars, of which 75% was allocated to CONAVI. The remaining $52 million dollars were distributed among the municipalities.
The funds, according to the law, are to be used exclusively in the maintenance of national roads, as well as roads in towns across the country. Yet many of the country’s roads continue to be in poor repair.
Perhaps corruption is at least a contributing factor.
Yesterday, the District Attorney’s office carried out 16 raids in at least 10 municipalities, 5 private companies, and a private home, for suspicion of misuse of public property, involving the misappropriation of large quantities of asphalt that was to be used in repairing public roads.
The operation was quite large, involving 12 district attorneys, 200 OIJ agents, and 16 judges.
Some of the municipalities involved were Cartago, Heredia (San Pablo), Cobano, Liberia, Paquera, Barva, Santa Barbara, and Jimenez.
The complaint was filed by RECOPE. The municipalities supposedly delivered the asphalt to a number of private companies in which it was to be used for the repair of public roads.
A number of privately owned companies such as RASA, CODANSA, Otto Corrales were raided as part of the investigation.
A full 50% of the asphalt that was distributed by RECOPE in 2010 completely vanished.
Editor’s note: This story has been significantly updated since it was first published this morning in order to add more information and detail. The title of the article was also changed to better reflect the subject of the article.