Investigators conduct 41 searches in highway bribery case

More than 200 judicial agents fanned out early Wednesday to pull off 41 simultaneous searches, the largest such police operation in history.

The goal was to get evidence on allegations that money destined for the new Ruta 1856, the Juan Rafael Mora Porras, had been diverted.

The 41 locations, mostly construction companies, were in 11 cantons, said the Poder Judicial. Specifically sought were receipts and accounting information relating to payments by the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the nation’s road agency.

The Ruta 1856 was built without public bidding on an emergency basis because construction was considered urgent
due to Nicaragua’s invasions of the Isla Portillo in extreme northeast Costa Rica.

Six searches were of accountants’ offices where documents of the construction companies were located. Two searches were at dwellings.

The construction companies had received payments for 19 billion colons or about $38 million.

At least three public employees are suspected of receiving bribes from construction companies.

In mid-May there were other searches involving the same case, including ones at homes of the suspects, the offices of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the offices of the national emergency commissions.

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