Emergency commission chief tells lawmakers that Ruta 1856 oversight not her job

The head of the country’s emergency commission took no responsibility Tuesday for overseeing the construction work on the controversial Ruta 1856 along the northern border of the country.

The executive president, Vanessa Rosales, was appearing before the legislature’s Comisión Permanente Especial de Control de Ingreso y Gasto Público.

She said that in February her agency, the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias, simply responded to a request from the public works ministry which had run out of money.

She said her agency gave an initial transfer of 10 billion colons or about $20 million.
The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and its Consejo Nacional de Vialidad were in charge of oversight, she said. Lawmakers appeared satisfied with her version of events.

In October 2010 Nicaraguan soldiers invaded Costa Rica’s Isla Calero, and former Contra leader Edén Pastora began efforts to dredge the Río San Juan which runs along the northern border, she noted.

That is when the government took steps to provide better transportation along the northern part of the country. The result is the 160-kilometer (99-mile), two-lane highway. The construction jobs were awarded without bidding because of an emergency decree authorizing the work, but the project has become mired in investigations and allegations of corruption. Three ministry inspectors are under investigation, and agents have searched some 40 locations, mostly construction firm offices, for documents.

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