Legislators Call For Firing Of
Housing Minister Following Lavish Lunch
Legislators of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC) and Movimiento
Libertario political parties are calling for more heads to roll in
the excessive lunch by the head of the Banco Hipotecario de la
Vivienda (Banhvi), Ennio Rodríguez, who has since resigned.
Last week, a group of Banhvi officials, including the ministra de
Vivienda, Clara Zomer, attended a lunch at a high end Escazu
restaurant at a cost of ¢627.117 colones, excessive in these times
of financial crisis.
As such the legislative members of both political parties are
calling on Costa Rican president, Oscar Arias, for the firing of
minister Zomer, who is also the head of the Banhvi board of
Legislator Carlos Gutiérrez was the most vocal. "Who ever ordered
champagne must go", said the legislators, who added that the cost
cannot be justified and that 11 public officials were out drinking
while on the job.
Francisco Molina, head of the PAC legislators, scolded president
Arias for not yet having fired Zomer.
The legislator says that the president is contradicting himself,
only last week announcing a plan to head off the financial crisis,
while allowing his minister to continue in such lavish.
"How can you believe the president? One who alarms us all and asks
that we prepare ourselves for the financial crisis or the one who
acts with forbearance against one of its ministers who committed the
same sin the president of the Banhvi?", Molina asked rhetorically.
The legislator feels the president should refer the case to the
Comisión de Ética del Gobierno (government's ethics board) to
investigate the controversy and the public officials who took part
in the lunch, that included:
• Clara Zomer Rezler, ministra de Vivienda
• José Antonio Li, presidente ejecutivo del IMAS
• Yessenia Calderón and Rolando Vargas, directivos del Banhvi
• Luis Fernando Salazar, viceministro de Vivienda
• Santiago Villalobos, asesor del despacho de la ministra Zomer
• Juan José Umaña y Kattia Aguilar, gerente y subgerente Fundación