Lawmaker upset with details of Chinese road deal

A proposal to rebuild Ruta 32 has come under criticism in the legislature.

Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, a lawmaker from the Partido Acción Ciudadana, said the country was surrendering its sovereignty for the deal. In addition fears were raised that the Chinese company that probably will do the job has a history of corruption.

The allegations were contained in a statement issued by the political party.

Two vice ministers Chacón Laurito of the  Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and Jordi Pratt Chacón of the Ministerio de Hacienda, appeared before a legislative committee Wednesday. That prompted the discussion.

Costa Rica is negotiating a deal whereby the Chinese government will pay for 85 percent of the cost of
rebuilding and widening the key road. Costa Rica will pay 15 percent. The total has not yet been computed. Some 107 kilometers from Río Frio to Limón are involved.

Oviedo said in the statement that Costa Rica would renounce its immunity under terms of the deal and that the project would be governed by the laws of China.

Additionally, he said that the firm China Harbour  Engineering Co. Ltd., the likely contractor, has been suspended by the World Bank after allegations of corruption in The Philippines.

The discussion was in the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios, which is considering the measure, No.  18.945.

The vice ministers said they would look into the corruption allegations.

The money would come from Chinese sources and would be denominated in yuans, the basic currency there.

The job would include much more than just roadway. There will be new bridges, a bike path, pedestrian bridges and drainage work.

Technicians are trying to establish a budget now.

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