16 more suspects reported being investigated in case of Ruta 1856

Prosecutors say there are 16 more suspects in the investigation of irregularities in the construction of Ruta 1856.  This is the road built along the Río San Juan at the Nicaraguan border during the Laura Chinchilla administration.

The roadway also is called the Carretera Juan Rafael Mora Porras after the president who led the country to take up arms against the U.S. filibusterer William Walker in 1856 and 1857.

The revelation Tuesday by prosecutors brings the total of suspects to 42. They include  public employees and contractors.

The new batch are contractors, said the Poder Judicial. They are accused of double billing for machinery. There might even have been billing for work by machinery that did not exist.

The investigation has been going on since November 2012.

 Investigators have exercised 55 search warrants, accessed 12 bank accounts, accessed two tax files and conducted 125 interviews, the Poder Judicial said.

The public employees are accused of  failing to supervise the work that was taking place and colluding with contractors  to obtain money that was not earned.

The contractors are reported to have done poor work. In some cases shipping containers or tree trunks were used as bridges. Contractors also are accused of exceeding plans to chop down a number of trees for sale.

Eventually the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes took over the work. The project is considered an example of how not to do a public work.

The road was a rush job in the face of territorial invasions by Nicaragua.

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