President defends officials who wrote recommendations

President Laura Chinchilla Miranda has come to the defense of a minister and a vice president who have been accused of ethical lapses.

Ms. Chinchilla, in a statement, said Wednesday that Vice Presdient Luis Liberman and Leonardo Garnier, minister of Educación Pública did not make grave ethical errors.

The president did so after the Procuraduría de la Ética issued a report saying that they did.

Both men wrote letters of recommendation so that a company operated by the wife of another minister would be considered for a contract with the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo, the state petroleum monopoly.

The firm, Procesos, is controlled by the wife for the former minister of Hacienda. The woman also was an aide to the president. There have been no indications that the firm did anything illegal to win a contract, but the Spanish-language daily La Nación disclosed that the high officials wrote letters that were presented to the refinery.

The release from the president said that both Liberman and Garnier acted in good faith.

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